Beginning September 2017, this website page will feature articles from the mainstream and alternative media in Canada with the aim of providing an overview of the large trends in Canadian political economy. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis. The most recent entries are at top of the list. Feature articles on politics in Canada by Roger Annis are listed in the website category Canada-politics and social issues.
Indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian prisons ruled unconstitutional by B.C. court, CBC News, Jan 17, 2018
A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has ruled that the practice of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian prisons is unconstitutional… The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the John Howard Society of Canada (JHSC) brought the challenge against the federal government, arguing that rules regarding administrative segregation, more commonly known as solitary confinement, are inhuman and unconstitutional…
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said in a statement the government will review the B.C. judgment along with an Ontario ruling [December 2017] which found administrative segregation for longer than five days is unconstitutional. Goodale said the government has new legislation before Parliament to impose time limits [sic] and independent oversight on solitary confinement…
[The federal government opposed the court actions in BC and Ontario, as did the national ‘union’ of prison guards in Canada. United Nations convention defines solitary confinment longer than 24 hours as torture. Torture in Canada–how can that possibly be? Surely the country’s history of cultural genocide against First Nations peoples and cruel exploitation of workers and farmers is long gone?]
Background, from Wikipedia:
… In 1949, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Although the Declaration is non-binding, the basic human rights outlined within it have served as the foundation of customary international law. The relevance of the Declaration to solitary confinement is found in Article 5, which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Thus, if solitary confinement is believed to constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, then the country practicing solitary confinement is violating the provisions set by the UDHR.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), effective 1976, reiterates the fifth article of the UDHR; Article 7 of the ICCPR identically states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Because the ICCPR is a legally binding agreement, any nation that is signatory to the covenant would be violating international law if it practiced torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
At the time that the UDHR and ICCPR were adopted, solitary confinement was not yet believed to constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Its practice, therefore, was not believed to violate international law. This changed, however, after the UN definition of torture was outlined in detail in the 1984 Convention Against Torture (CAT)…
Why Margaret Atwood, author of Handmaid’s Tale, is facing #MeToo backlash, by Constance Grady, VOX News, Jan 17, 2018
Fourteen-point rebuttal to mainstream journalist Keith Baldrey after he praises BC Premier John Horgan for kicking Site C dam critics to the curb, commentary by Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight (Vancouver weekly), Jan 13, 2018 (Charlie Smith is the editor of the Georgia Straight)
* First Nations file civil lawsuit against Site C hydroelectric dam, Alaska Highway News, Jan 16, 2018
* West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations file court claim to stop Site C, CBC News, Jan 16, 2018
Federal court rejects Ottawa’s bid to halt Saudi arms deal lawsuit, by Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Jan 9, 2018
A Federal Court judge has rejected the Trudeau government’s attempt to sink a fresh legal challenge of the $15-billion sale of weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, saying evidence last summer showing Canadian-made machines being deployed in a Saudi neighbourhood has breathed life into the matter. This means a new lawsuit to block these arms exports will be allowed to proceed and Ottawa will be forced to shed light on what happened in the summer of 2017 when Canadian-made armoured vehicles were filmed and photographed taking part in a fight [sic] between Riyadh and residents of the Saudi kingdom’s Eastern Province.
This is University of Montreal law professor Daniel Turp’s second attempt to block exports of $15-billion of Canadian-made light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a country with an abysmal human-rights record. In January, 2017, a different Federal Court judge rejected his lawsuit, noting there was no evidence demonstrating Canadian machines had been used against the civilian population. That decision is still under appeal…
When it comes to workers rights at Tim Hortons, who’s the boss? The multinational owner or the franchisees?, by Sara Mojtehedzdeh, Toronto Star, Jan 13, 2018
Defense minister Harjit Sajjan defends proposed new powers to Canada’s CSE spy agency, by Alex Boutilier, Toronto Star, Jan 11, 2018 ‘Critics argue the legislation could open the door to the kind of state-sponsored disinformation campaigns that have recently targeted Western democracies [sic].’
* Critics fear the government’s national security bill puts Canadians in the crosshairs, by Stuart Thomson, National Post, Jan 15, 2018 Bill C-59 has been touted as the Liberal government’s improved version of the Harper government’s national security legislation, Bill C-51. It provides the super-secretive Communicatoins Security Establishment with new powers, inclluding to spy on Canadians.
* Under Bill C-59, the Communications Security Establishment Act, would receive an explicit mandate to launch cyber attacks, report by Citizen Lab and the Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, Dec 18, 2017 The Citizen Lab (University of Toronto) and the Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (University of Ottawa) have collaborated to produce a report which provides timely legal analysis, political context, and historical background on the Communications Security Establishment Act and related provisions in Bill C-59 (An Act respecting national security matters), First Reading (December 18, 2017)…
* The same Democrats who denounce Donald Trump as a lawless, treasonous authoritarian just voted to give him vast, warrantless spying powers, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Jan 12, 2018
Another blow to Trudeau government’s signature political initiative, the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, CBC News, Jan 11, 2018
[Debbie Reid is the second executive director to resign from the inquiry and the latest in a string of high-profile resignations of inquiry staff and directors. Reid left only three months after replacing Michelle Moreau, who resigned for unspecified reasons in July 2017. An email by Reid had stated that the primary purpose of inquiry staff is to protect inquiry commissioners from “criticism or surprises”. The National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was established in December 2015 (Wikipedia). As its operation has bogged down and disillusioned the families of missing and murdered women and girls, many First Nations spokespeople have called for the resignations of the inquiry commissioners and a “complete reset” of the inquiry’s operation.]
The opioid prescription/addiction machine in Canada, report on CBC News, Jan 11, 2018 One in five Canadians has been prescribed an opioid driug in the past five years; in the same time, one in eight say a family member has become dependent or addicted.
Related: Opioid deaths in Canada in 2017 expected to exceed 4,000, far surpassing 2016 figure of 2,861, Canadian Press, Dec 17, 2017
Imagine cities that shelter people, not war, by Azeezah Khan, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 11, 2018 Turning Toronto’s Moss Park Armoury into an emergency shelter for homeless is practical but also symbolic of Canada’s misguided priorities when it spends so much more on making war than taking care of its poor.
Related: Price of a house rose 10.8 per cent in fourth quarter of 2017 over the same quarter in 2016, by Canadian Press, Jan 10, 2018 Condominium prices in Toronto and Vancouver rose by 20 per cent in Q4 2017.
Tim Hortons brand is getting ‘dragged through the mud’ in Ontario minimum wage fight but the multinational owner isn’t doing anything to stop it, Financial Post, Jan 10, 2018
* Union leaders says companies would be ‘foolish’ to move their operations to avoid rising minimum wage, by Ross Marowits, Canadian Press, Jan 10, 2018
* In raising the minimum wage, Ontario gov’t simultaneously ignored recommendations to make it easier for service industry workers to join a union, commentary by Marty Warren (Steelworkers Union), Toronto Star, Jan 11, 2018
[For years, union leaders in Canada and their political party the NDP have offered little more than platitudes in support of raising the minimum wage. Three factors came together to convince the Liberal Party government in Ontario to raise the minimum wage to $14 per hour as of Jan 1, 2018 and $15 as of Jan 1, 2019: an activist campaign waged for years by the ‘Fight For $15 and Fairness‘ campaign and its predecessors; the Liberals seeing an opportunity to gain political advantage over the NDP; and the fact that employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find and retain staff at starvation-level wages. This Canadian Press article (weblink above) reports more platitudes from union leaders, while an op-ed commentary reports background to the sotry being ignored by mainstream media and commentators.
[Alberta’s NDP government hiked the minimum wage to $13.20 on Oct 1, 2017. It says the minimum wage will rise to $15 by October 2018.
[In neighbouring British Columbia, the NDP government elected in May 2017 has scrapped its election promise to ‘eventually’ raise the minimum wage to $15. Employers of minimum wage labour are increasingly complaining that low wages and skyrocketing house prices are making it increasingly difficult to hire workers in Vancouver. But class allegiances and loyalties are keeping employers from pressuring governments to raise the minimum wage and build affordable housing. ]
Tim Hortons coffee chain’s warm-and-fuzzy brand identity becomes faded and torn, by Edward Keenan, columnist, Toronto Star, Tuesday, Jan 9, 2018 (and see related coverage further below)
… ‘Any lingering doubt that this is just another cold-hearted corporate behemoth was dispelled this month when Tim Hortons franchisees — led by the husband-and-wife team descended from the Joyce and Horton families who founded the chain — decided to react to an increase in the minimum wage by squeezing their employees.
… The response from some in the public has been anger. Some launched a No Timmies Tuesday boycott this week. A protest at the Cobourg location is scheduled for Wednesday, as well as protests at nine Toronto locations throughout the day.
Deadly freezing temperatures in Toronto, but hundreds of homeless are left out in the cold, Vice News, Jan 5, 2018
[Toronto set a record low temperature for January 5 of minus 23C (minus nine Farenheit). Dozens, maybe hundreds, of homeless people had to brave the street due to the decades-long criminal negligence of federal, provincial and municipal governments in failing to build and manage housing for low-income working class people. One month ago, Toronto city council and its mayor voted against a motion asking the federal government to make its Moss Park Armoury available as an emergency shelter. Pressure by advocates for the homeless led to the Armoury being opened on January 6, but for two weeks only. Advocates say many of the city’s 62 homeless shelters and winter respite centers are of poor-quality and call them ‘refugee camps’.]
Related: Winter respite centre pushed to the limit during prolonged cold snap, by Julien Gignac, Toronto Star, Jan 8, 2018
Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak of appointed Canadian Senate defends her claim that cultural genocide in Canada against Indigenous people (residential schools) had positive sides, report on CBC News, Jan 4, 2018
Related: Residential school survivor says he told Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer about Lynn Beyak’s letters months ago, interview with Garnet Angeconeb on CBC Radio One‘s ‘As It Happens’, Jan 5, 2018 (eight minutes) Son of Lynn Beyak defends his mother’s views
Tim Hortons coffee chain hits back against Ontario’s minimum wage hike to $14 per hour, cuts paid breaks and other benefits of employees, CBC News, Jan 4, 2018
Family founders of the chain, sold to a Brazilian multinational in 2014, are eliminating paid breaks at the franchise outlets they own in Coburg, Ontario (which Ontario labour law permits) while a Toronto franchisee is eliminating employees’ tip jar.
[Corporate news outlets in Canada, including the CBC, are full of doom-and-gloom stories of “tens of thousands” of jobs due to be lost because of forthcoming minimum wage hikes in some provinces. Thanks to the inertia and lack of will over the issue by Canada’s trade unions and their political party, the NDP, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is able to masquerade as a champion of minimum wage earners. Her Liberal Party government’s $14 per hour rate as of January 1, 2018 looks downright rosy compared to the BC NDP government’s hike to $11.35 (!) in September 2017 and its simultaneous decision to scrap its 2017 election promise of $15 ‘sometime in the near future’.]
* Minimum-wage hike spurs Ontario businesses to cut benefits, hours, by Brenda Bouw, Globe and Mail, Jan 5, 2018
* Bullying bosses and pliant media whine about Ontario minimum wage increase to $14, Rank and File.ca, Jan 5, 2018
* Postmedia columnist and CBC television news commentator, Andrew Coyne, says no minimum wage is best, by Andrew Coyne, columnist, National Post, Jan 6, 2018
Columnist says starvation wages should be supplemented by government from general tax revenue
* Of course businesses would act like businesses in wake of minimum wage hikes, by Robyn Urback, opinion editor at CBC News, Jan 5, 2018 [This is a cynical argument by a CBC ‘opinion editor’ which echoes all the pro-business lies saying that improved wages for workers ruins economies.] * ‘I will not back down from legislating a $15 per hour minimum wage’, op-ed by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, in Toronto Star, Jan 7, 2018
Will Canada finally deal with its torture-in-Afghanistan skeletons?, op-ed commentary by Erna Paris, in The Globe and Mail, Jan 5, 2018 … Canada’s unexamined role in transferring captured Afghans to notorious prisons where they were certain to be tortured is another stubborn entity that keeps popping out of the cupboard. Both former prime minister Stephen Harper and current PM Justin Trudeau have tried to ignore the unwelcome visitor, but it will not be snubbed…
Actresses accusing Soulpepper Theatre director Albert Schultz of sexual misconduct had to ‘suffer in silence,’ lawyer says, CBC News, Jan 4, 2018
* Soulpepper Theatre artisitic director Albert Shultz resigns amid sexual harassment allegations, CBC News, Jan 3, 2018
* Interview with two of the four actresses suing Albert Shultz and Soulpepper Theatre directors, on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Jan 4, 2018 (40 minutes)
* Board of directors of Soulpepper Theatre is a who’s-who of Canadian bankers, corporate elite, article in Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2018
… Among the most prominent current board members are Rogers Communications Inc. CEO Joe Natale and Delaney Capital Management partner David Fleck. Nancy McCain, a scion of the McCain Foods Ltd. dynasty and wife of federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, serves alongside Maureen Dodig, who is married to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chief executive officer Victor Dodig – a former Soulpepper board member himself. James O’Sullivan, who heads Canadian retail operations for Bank of Nova Scotia, is one of several senior bankers around the boardroom table. [Full list of Soulpepper Theatre Board of Directors (27 members) is here.] * Albert Schultz resigns on heels of lawsuits, sex assault allegations, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2018 [Actress Kristin Booth says her decision to come forward and undertake legal action against Soulpepper was sparked by the theatre’s statement on sexual harassment policy in October 2017 following the firing of guest artist Laszlo Marton over sexual harassment allegations. “The hypocrisy of that statmeent is what motivated me to come forward…”]
Statement from the Iranian Canadian Congress regarding protests in Iran, issued on Jan 2, 2018 … In the days since the protests began, some politicians and political groups in Canada and abroad who have for years advocated for sanctions and aggression against Iran have tried to exploit these protests to justify their anti-Iranian policies…These efforts constitute nothing but an attempt to cynically exploit people’s legitimate demands to advance these groups’ own political agenda…
What will it take for Trudeau to split from Harper on foreign policy?, by John Ibbitson, (conservative columnist), Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2018 (available to Globe subscribers only) … Over the past two years, Justin Trudeau has closely adhered to Stephen Harper’s foreign policy. One of the questions of 2018 is whether the Liberals will continue to imitate the Conservatives or strike out on their own… Mr. Trudeau is far more assertive than his Conservative predecessor on the need to combat global warming, but the government has only committed itself to meeting the targets set by the Conservatives…
Vancouver condominium prices soar as seller’s market emerges, big rise also recorded in Toronto, Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2018
[Condo prices in Vancouver in December 2016 were 26 per cent higher than December 2015. The BC government’s 15 per cent tax on foreign home buyers introduced in 2015 was a hiccup that the industry has shrugged off.
[The average price regionally for condos sold in December hit $676,502, just shy of the record of $687,053 set in October… In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s territory over the past year, the average price for condos jumped 44 per cent to $374,649 while the price for detached properties increased 11.4 per cent to an average of $1,018,629.
[In Toronto, condo prices rose 14 per cent in 2017.]
Facebook says it is deleting accounts at the direction of the U.S. and Israeli governments, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Dec 30, 2017
After years of stalling, British Columbia becomes sixth province to provide abortion pill Mifegymiso, CBC News, Jan 2, 2018 … Health Canada approved Mifegymiso in 2015. It costs $300 or more to those obliged by anti-woman provincial restrictions to purchase it out of pocket. New Brunswick was the first province to provide universal access to the pill last July; Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia have also made it accessible for free…
Related: Thirty years after Morgentaler ruling on abortion rights, Canada ‘still dealing with the same issues’, by Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press, Dec 20, 2017 Only one in six hospitals in Canada performs abortions and some provinces have no standalone abortion clinics at all. New Brunswick, meanwhile, continues to refuse to fund abortions at the province’s only clinic…
Canada’s National Observer joins the Russia-truthing media parade
[Canada’s online National Observer was a welcome addition to Canada’s alternative media when it expanded in 2015 from the original Vancouver Observer to report on Canada-wide news. Its focus was and remains, in the words of its publisher, “to counter the influence of the energy industry’s multi-million dollar spending on ads and editorial partnerships with mainstream media through factual independent reporting.” But reporter Sanday Gerassimo ventures into heretofore unexplored terrain in a very lengthy, year-ending interview with a “social sciences scholar” in the United States. The interview presents reams of complicated narrative apparently having to do with Russia influencing the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But we come to the nub of the matter in this exchange:
Garossino: As a scientist, what evidence would you look for that Russian interference may have influenced the outcome of the election?
Caroline Orr: It’s going to be hard to ever definitively say whether or not the outcome of the election was changed…
[In truth, the cat was out of the Russia-truthing bag when the publisher of the Observer penned a gushing summary of a speech which the warmonger and former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton delivered in Vancouver on Decembver 2017 to a crowd of several thousand adoring fans.
[Postscript: The National Observer‘s first reporting, on Jan 4, 2018, of the social protests in Iran which erupted in late 2017 is decidedly hostile to the Iranian people. It echoes the foreign policy stance of the Trudeau government in Ottawa and Trump-led government in the United States. ]
Record-breaking CEO pay in Canada; now 209 times more than average worker, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Jan 2, 2018 … “Canada’s corporate executives were among the loudest critics of a new fifteen dollar minimum wage in provinces like Ontario and Alberta [in 2019] , meanwhile the highest paid among them were raking in record-breaking earnings,” says the report’s author, CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald.
Foreign buyers push up global house prices, The Economist, March 11, 2017 (Short text with graphs in pdf format here: Foreign buyers push up global house prices)
Related: Governments and the real estate industry in Canada are lying about the vast extent of foreign and domestic speculative investment fueling the real estate bubble and the country’s acute shortage of affordable housing, report by James Cohen and Peter Dent, published in The Globe and Mail, Dec 28, 2017 and Over 11,000 homes in Britain have stood empty for at least 10 years, data shows, The Guardian, Jan 1, 2018
Donald Trump becomes the first president in 40 years not to visit Canada in his first year, by Daniel Dale, Toronto Star, Dec 31, 2017
[In its public relations exercises, Ottawa feigns discomfort with the blunt force, right-wing politics of Donald Trump. And it is true that Trump’s ‘America first’ economic stumblings alarm Canada’s economic elite. But on all fundamentals–more globalization of the capitalist order, expanding fossil fuel extraction, militarization, overthrow of unpopular foreign governments–Ottawa is in lock-step with Washington. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s spokesman calmly admits it in the above article.]
… “The PM and president have developed a constructive, positive working relationship and have spoken or met on numerous occasions,” Trudeau spokesperson Cameron Ahmad said in November, noting that the two leaders have had “17 individual interactions” since Trump was elected. “Our offices, diplomats, ministers, and officials communicate regularly on many key files and shared priorities. The prime minister has extended an invitation to the president to visit Canada and continues to look forward to future opportunities to engage.”
By most accounts, including Trump’s own, the 46-year-old multilateralist Liberal prime minister and the 71-year-old nationalist Republican president have developed a friendly working relationship. Even as he disparages the North American Free Trade Agreement that Trudeau supports, Trump regularly tells audiences he likes Trudeau..
As the year draws to a close, Global BC’s legislative bureau chief Keith Baldrey sits down with B.C. Premier John Horgan to take a look back at 2017. What were the highs and lows and what is his favourite Christmas song?
BC Premier John Horgan had a clear message for his BC NDP at year’s end: “If we’re going to be a government that governs for all British Columbians, we have to set aside our activism and start being better administrators,” he said in an interview with Global BC’s Keith Baldrey to cap off an eventful 2017 for the NDP leader…’
… The spread of Hepatitis A has been concentrated among the homeless and illicit drug users, who are also often exposed to unsanitary conditions. But about a third of those infected and two [of the 20 to date] who died were neither homeless nor drug users. Experts don’t know exactly how the disease spread to the general population, but it is easily transferable by even the slightest contact with infected feces.
That has helped spark a public outcry in San Diego to address the city’s long-standing issues with homelessness. It has also pushed the deadly epidemic into the international spotlight as a cautionary tale of how ignoring an affordable housing crisis can have broader public health consequences for cities – including those in Canada…
[The homeless population of San Diego is estimated as 5,600, fourth largest of U.S. cities and up 40 per cent since three years ago. That compares to 3,600 in Vancouver region in 2017 (up 30 per cent since 2014) and 5,200 in Toronto. Eighty homeless people have died in Toronto in the first six months of 2017.]
A tough year for human rights must give way to a brighter 2018, op-ed by Alex Neve and Béatrice Vaugrante of Amnesty International Canada , published in Toronto Star, Dec 29, 2017
[In a year-end statement published in the Toronto Star, the people heading Amnesty International Canada present a rosy view of the Canadian government’s actions on the international stage and offer milquetoast words for its record at home (“Canada has made contributions in 2017 to addressing many of those global challenges; but that has not always been backed up with consistent action at home.”). Meanwhile, they ignore the egregious human rights record for which Canada is directly responsible in such countries as Ukraine, Haiti and Honduras, and they ignore Canada’s interferences in support of regime-change in such countries as Syria, Venezuela, North Korea and Brazil.
[Canada remains a staunch ally of the Trump-led U.S. and its support for such autocratic regimes as Saudi Arabia and Israel, but this is a truth that Amnesty International Canada cannot bring itself to utter.]
Canada expels Venezuelan diplomats as it deepens efforts to overthrow Venezuela’s president and government, report in TeleSur, Dec 25, 2017
[Canada announced the expulsion of Venezuela’s chargé d’affaires (second-ranking diplomatic official) on December 25. It also announced it is barring Venezuela Ambassador to Canada Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández from returning to Ottawa. He was recalled to Venezuela following sanctions levied by Canada against Venezuela in early November under its new sanctions law targetting Russia and Venezuela. That law was approved unanimously in October by the House of Commons and Senate.
[Canadian mainstream media is presenting the expulsions as the fault of an aggressive Venezuela. The Venezuelan government expelled Canadian chargé d’affaires Craib Kowalik on Dec 24 due to his incessant interference in Venezuelan affairs. Canada has been openly backing the violent political opposition in Venezuela which is seeking the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro. But that didn’t stop the state-run CBC from headlining on Dec 25 ‘Canadian government retaliates by expelling Venezuelan diplomat’. Other mainstream media run similar headlines, as though it is Venezuela which is threatening Canada, rather than the opposite.
[Canada’s alternative media has been silent on the dispute. It is uncomfortably marooned by the support or acquiescence to Canadian sanctions coming from the members of Parliament of the soft-left New Democratic Party and the Green Party and by its own anti-Russia prejudices. As the anti-Russia drive by Ottawa and its NATO partners proceeds apace, progressive opinion in Canada is frightened by the propect of being labelled–McCarthyism-style–as sympathetic to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin.]
Sears Canada staff, retirees live amid uncertainty, special report in the Globe and Mail, Dec 28, 2017
[The looting of the Sears Canada department store chain by shareholders has left vulnerable its 18,000 retirees and 16,000 staff losing their jobs from Sears ‘bankruptcy’ closing. Governments have consistently failed to protect private sector pensions from looting by the very companies supposed to protect their pensioners’ interests.]
… Retired Sears clerk Donna England watched for years as federal and provincial politicians failed to respond to retirees’ pleas for legislative protections when companies get into trouble and fall behind in funding their employee pensions…
Governments and the real estate industry are lying about the vast extent of foreign and domestic speculative investment fueling the real estate bubble and the country’s acute shortage of affordable housing, report by James Cohen and Peter Dent, published in The Globe and Mail, Dec 28, 2017 (James Cohen is the director of policy and programs at Transparency International Canada, an anti-corruption organization headquartered at York University. Peter Dent is a former chair.)
… Our fractured system does not allow the tracking of foreign ownership of privately held companies so how can Statscan create a measurement of foreign ownership? It can’t…
Veteran female officer alleges ‘culture of sexism’ embedded in Toronto police force, by Wendy Gillis, Toronto Star, Dec 28, 2017
[Little surprise here–Canada’s national police force, the RCMP, is paying settlement money to more than 1,000 past and present female officers in a class action lawsuit settled earlier this year. A national advocacy group for female police facing on-the-job harassment was formed several months ago because female officers facing discrimination “don’t have the time” for the years which lawsuits take to process.]
Canadian gov’t obliged to fire anti-Muslim voice sitting on its ‘race relations’ foundation, by Jennifer Yang, Toronto Star, Dec 21, 2017
[The Canadian Race Relations Foundation was created out of the settlement in 1997 between the federal government and Japanese Canadians over their internment during World War Two. The government promised to create a foundation that would “foster racial harmony and cross-cultural understanding and help to eliminate racism.”
[Board member of CRRF Christine Douglass-Williams is a frequent writer at Jihad Watch. She wrote earlier this year, “You need street smarts with regard to immigrants. Islamic supremacists will smile at you, invite you to their gatherings, make you feel loved and welcome, but they do it to deceive you and to overtake you, your land and your freedoms.” She was appointed in 2012 on the recommendation of Jason Kenney, then the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, now the leader of Alberta’s opposition United Conservative Party.]
Trudeau ‘sorry’ for violating conflict [corruption] laws with holiday to Aga Khan’s island in Dec 2016, CBC News, Dec 20, 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized for his actions after the federal ethics watchdog found he violated some provisions of the Conflict of Interest [anti-corruption] Act when he vacationed on a private island owned by the [billionaire Aga Khan] last Christmas season and took a private helicopter to get there…
* Aga Khan could face lobbying probe for Trudeau trip, CBC News, Dec 21, 2017
* My exclusive interview with the prime minister (prime minister not included), by Andrew Coyne, columnist, National Post, Dec 20, 2017
Prime Minister, thank you for this. Might I just start with the news of the day? With regard to your holidays on the Aga Khan’s private island in the Caribbean, you’ve been found by the ethics commissioner to have broken the conflict of interest law in four places. Yet you face no penalties of any kind. You’ve said the decision should give Canadians confidence in the process. Why?
You claim you accepted his hospitality because he was a “close family friend.” Yet the ethics commissioner found you hadn’t seen him in 30 years, but for a hug at your father’s funeral…
As overdoses mount, U.S. cities and counties rush to sue opioid makers, by Mitch Smith and Monjica Davey, New York Times, Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017
AKRON, Ohio — Citing a spike in overdose deaths, growing demands for drug treatment and a strained budget, officials here in Summit County filed a lawsuit late Wednesday against companies that make or distribute prescription opioids. On Monday, Smith County in Tennessee did the same. And on Tuesday, nine cities and counties in Michigan announced similar suits…
The legal battle is playing out as the sale of prescription opioids, which include oxycodone and hydrocodone, have quadrupled since 1999, as have overdose deaths. More than 183,000 people died from overdoses tied to prescription opioids in the 15 years leading up to 2015…
U.S. drug overdose (drug poisoning) deaths hit 64,000 in 2016, report in New York Times, Sept 2, 2017
[There were 64,000 drug overdose (poisoning) deaths in the United States in 2016 according to the U.S. government National Center for Health Statistics. That’s up 22 per cent since 2015 and 540 per cent since 2011. About one third of 2016 deaths were attributable to the opium derivative fentanyl. In Canada, the BC Coroners Service says more than 1,100 British Columbians died due to a suspected illicit drug overdose [poisoning] in the first nine months of 2017, an annualized total of nearly 1,500. Total opioid poisoning deaths in Canada will hit 4,000 for 2017.]
Ontario judge rules long-term ‘administrative segregation’ [solitary confinement torture] in prisons unconstitutional, by The Canadian Press, Dec 18, 2017
… Superior Court Justice Frank Marrocco said banning the practice immediately could be disruptive and dangerous, so he suspended his ruling for one year to give Parliament a chance to fix the problem.
Opioid deaths in Canada expected to hit 4,000 by end of 2017, The Canadian Press Dec 18, 2017
… Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, said Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba have yet to report all of their opioid-related overdose deaths for the first half of the year. But based on figures reported by the other provinces and territories, Tam said the number of overdose deaths are on pace to surpass 4,000 by the end of the year — far above last year’s tally of 2,861 opioid-related fatalities…
[Mainstream news in Canada continues to blame the toxic illegal drug supply laced with fentanyl for skyrocketing deaths from opioid drug poisoning. But it is the racist, class-biased ‘war on drugs’ which is to blame. Governments treat drug addiction as a crime, not a public health emergency. For a history of the failed, 100-year old ‘war on drugs’ originated in the U.S., read Chasing The Scream, by Johann Hari (2015), a New York Times bestseller. ‘Best books on the war on drugs’, by Johann Hari, is here.
[A map of opioid deaths in Canada by province here. The highest rate of deaths is in British Columbia; the rate for 2017 is averaging 32 deaths per 100,000, in 2015 it was 11 per 100,000. The five U.S. states with the highest rates of death due to drug poisoning in 2015 (latest available figure) were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3), Kentucky (29.9), Ohio (29.9), and Rhode Island (28.2). See also: Canada ranked second in world for per-capita opioid use, The Canadian Press, Aug 24, 2016]
Feature investigation: How a simple name change can deceive regulators and allow offenders to escape prosecution, by Grant Robertson and Tom Cardoso in Globe and Mail, Dec 18, 2017
[This is the second report in the Globe and Mail’s investigation of crime and corruption in Canada’s stock market and retail investment industries. The first report is here: Thirty years of data: How The Globe and Mail detected repeat offenders in Canadian securities markets, by Tom Cardoso and Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail, Dec 16, 2017]
All of Canada’s state-run pension plans use offshore tax havens to invest, as revealed in ‘Paradise Papers’, report on CBC News, Dec 18, 2017
… None of the pension plans would say exactly how much of their revenue is generated by investments through tax havens. In response to questions from CBC, almost all of them pointed out that Canada doesn’t tax pension plans on their investment income, so their use of tax havens makes no difference to federal or provincial government coffers.
But other countries have different tax rules, and some Canadian pension funds acknowledged that offshore investment structures help them legally minimize their tax burdens abroad. Some even said it’s their duty to do so in order to maximize savings available for retirees…
Investigators keep low profile after billionaire drug company couple found dead from hanging in their Toronto mansion, report in Toronto Star, Dec 18, 2017
Barry and Honey Sherman and their ‘Apotex’ drug manufacturing company had a long history of litigation, more than 150 cases, report in Toronto Star, Dec 18, 2017
[Toronto police are already saying they may never know what happened, while Canada’s corporate elite is rushing to celebrate the Sherman couple as great humanitarians.]
New insights into Canada’s endemic stock market corruption, reports in the Globe and Mail and in Postmedia, Dec 2017
[Canada’s stock market and retail investment industries are among the most corrupt in the Western world. Enclosed are two recent mainstream news reports probing the matter. The Globe and Mail report is a lengthy product of months of journalistic investigation; the Vancouver Sun report is the latest in a series. These reports coincide with a new Toronto Star investigation (see immediately below) showing how Canada’s corporate elite has worked for decades with successive Canadian governments in massively shifting the income tax burden from themselves to the rest of Canadian society.]
* Thirty years of data: How The Globe and Mail detected repeat offenders in Canadian securities markets, by Tom Cardoso and Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail, Dec 16, 2017
* Fraudster’s condo transfer to wife shows difficulty B.C. securities commission has collecting fines, by Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, Dec 15, 2017
The high cost of low corporate taxes, special report in Toronto Star, Dec 14, 2017, by Marco Chown Oved, investigative reporter, Toby A.A. Heaps of Corporate Knights, and Michael Yow, data analyst, Dec 14, 2017
Sixty-five years ago, people and corporations contributed equal amounts of income tax to the Canadian government. Since then, the scales have tipped in the corporations’ favour. Corporate taxes have been slashed and people have been forced to make up the difference. In 2015/16 — the most recent statistics available — Canadians paid $145 billion in income tax, while corporations paid $41 billion.
At a time when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made tax fairness a centrepiece of his government, the Toronto Star and Corporate Knights magazine spent six months poring over tax data to determine how much income tax corporations are really paying. We found the amount of tax most big companies pay has been dropping as a proportion of their profits for years, and not only because the corporate tax rate has been cut repeatedly. Canada’s largest corporations use complex techniques and tax loopholes to reduce their taxes significantly below the official corporate tax rate set by the government.
Our analysis of the financial filings of Canada’s 102 biggest corporations shows these companies have avoided paying $62.9 billion in income taxes over the past six years.
The 2011-2016 audited financial statements of all large Canadian corporations (those worth more than $2 billion) reveal they paid an average of 17.7 per cent tax. During that time, the average official corporate tax rate in Canada for this group of companies was 26.6 per cent. That 8.9 per cent gap translates into tens of billions of dollars that could have been used to pay for the schools, roads, hospitals, police and paramedics we all rely on…
Related: 100 years of Canadian income taxes, by Toby Heaps and Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star, Dec 14, 2017 You have to go back 65 years to 1952 to find the last year that people and corporations paid the same amount in income tax. Since then, the gap has steadily grown. Here’s how we got here
Canada to buy used Boeing Australian figher jets while multi-billion$ purchase of new jets is decided, CBC News, Dec 12, 2017
Related: Ottawa relaunches the process to buy 88 new fighter jets, by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Dec 12, 2017 Canada will purchase used F-18 fighters from Australia as a stopgap for the air force, a move seen as taking a slap at Boeing.
[Canada is embarked on spending billions of dollars on fighter jets and warships. There is no opposition in Parliament to the plan, nor is there any opposition in the streets. Canada’s former antiwar movement has been sidelined by its confusion and disarray over NATO’s new cold war offensive against Russia and other challengers to NATO diktat. Canada’s trade unions support military spending because it preserves the privileged niche of dues-paying workers who manufacture and repair military equipment. Thus does the climate-wrecking, military-industrial complex march onward.]
NDP government in British Columbia will proceed with ‘Site C’ hydroelectric dam boondoggle, report on CBC News, Dec 11, 2017
[Premier John Horgan announced on December 11 that his government will proceed with construction of the $11 billion-and-counting hydroelectric dam on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia. The decision has drawn immediate and widespread condemnation from social rights activists and environmentalists across the progressive spectrum. The decision is a flagrant violation of the NDP’s promises to seek reconciliation with First Nations people (similar to the promises of the federal Liberal government). ‘Site C’ dam will flood large stretches of valuable farm land. It will power continued capitalist expansion and natural resource plundering. The dam’s proponents cannot explain at this time where much of the electricity to be generated will be used, but among the options is to power longstanding but frustrated plans for a natural gas liquefaction (LNG) industry in BC. The Liberals have been touted this mirage for years, with support from the NDP. LNG would be fed by expanding the northeast’s fracked gas industry that has already wreaked untold pollution and harm to water, land, air and wildlife. If an LNG industry fails to be realized, a fallback position is to sell the power to tar sands operations in Alberta (termed a ‘greening’ of the tar sands) and other resource extraction plunderers.
[Overshadowing construction of Site C are the massive cost overruns of a similar project on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Canada–the ‘Muscrat Falls’ hydroelectric dam now completing construction on the Lower Churchill River in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Lower Churchill Project (Wikipedia) has come in at more than twice its original cost estimate–$13 billion (!)–condemning the people of the province to steep rises in the price of electricity. That project, too, violates First Nations rights. For that side of this story, listen to a 25-minute interview which was aired on CBC Radio One‘s weekday newsmagazine ‘The Current’ on Nov 21, 2017. Related reading: A tale of three mega-dams, and why Site C in British Columbia could face the axe, by Jonathan Drance, Glenn Cameron and Rachel V. Hutton, The Tyee, Nov 22, 2017 .]
The pipeline tyrants, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Dec 8, 2017
National Energy Board ruling that Kinder Morgan can ignore Burnaby bylaws just latest injustice.
[This article by Andrew Nikiforuk provides valuable information on the ‘Trans Mountain’ tar sands pipeline proposal by Kinder Morgan. But the article is soiled by the author’s anti-foreigner argument saying that the Trudeau government is supporting Trans Mountain “To please the totalitarian Chinese government.” As though Canada’s corrupt, fossil-fuel soaked ruling class has no criminal complicity in the global warming emergency. ‘We’re babes in the woods; China made us do it!’
[Coincidentally, Tyee editors have reprinted a commentary on China by a right-wing, former columnist at the Vancouver Sun daily. He has a book forthcomiung in 2018 titled . Thus does liberal Canada’s new cold war span from Russia to China.]
Chief of West Moberley First Nation says costs of Site C dam cancellation are exaggerated by dam proponents, by Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Dec 6, 2017
… The BC Utilities Commission found terminating the project and remediating the site would cost about $1.8 billion, not including the cost of replacing the power Site C would generate. “I think it’s out of line,” [Chief Roland] Willson said of the $1.8 billion figure. “These people are trying to fear monger everybody and saying ‘it’s going to cost too much to stop.’ That’s BS. That’s literally idiotic.”
… Willson isn’t the only person to question the BCUC’s figure. In an open letter to Horgan, energy consultant Robert McCullough, who has been retained by the Peace Valley Landowner Association and the Peace Valley Environment Association, wrote that the BCUC’s number is higher than what either BC Hydro or Deloitte estimated.
In Quebec, ban the niqab, keep the cross, by Graeme Hamilton, National Post, Dec 9, 2017
… There are frequent reminders that secularism in Quebec comes with an asterisk. Typically, the religions that need to be restricted are those of minorities – Muslims, Sikhs, Jews. More often than not they are practiced by relative newcomers to Quebec. And despite the conventional wisdom that Quebecers broke free from the yoke of the Catholic Church in the Quiet Revolution, a stubborn attachment to Christian symbols remains, leading critics to label Quebec’s secularism “catho-laïcité.”
… Census data show that while Quebec pews have emptied, a strong attachment to the church remains. The 2011 National Household Survey found that 75 per cent of Quebecers declared a Catholic religious affiliation, and just 12 per cent declared no religious affiliation – the lowest of any region, according to University of Waterloo professor Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme. It is British Columbians who are the least religious Canadians, with 44 per cent declaring no religious affiliation.
Related: Judge grants stay of part of Quebec’s controversial religious neutrality law, CBC News, Dec 1, 2017
A Quebec Superior Court judge has granted a temporary suspension of the section of Quebec’s religious neutrality law that deals with face coverings. Justice Babak Barin granted a stay to Section 10 of the law, which requires anyone who gives or receives public services to do so with their face uncovered.
In his decision, Barin went on to say that Section 10 cannot come back into force until the government adopts guidelines dictating how the restrictions on face coverings would work in practice. The government has said it will not have those guidelines ready until next summer…
Unfounded: Globe and Mail investigates why police in Canada dismiss one in five sexual assault cases, by Robyn Dolittle, Globe and Mail, Dec 8, 2017
Law-enforcement agencies are reviewing more than 37,000 case files as part of a nationwide effort to improve how police handle sexual-assault investigations – an unprecedented overhaul of oversight, training and investigative practices designed to address substantial flaws in the way sexual violence is policed in Canada. An investigation by the Globe and Mail published in February 2017 revealed that one in five sexual assault cases were being dismissed as “unfounded,” meaning the investigating officer did not believe a crime occurred or was attempted…
Newly disclosed data shows need for inquiry into fracking in northern British Columbia, op-ed commentary by Ben Parfitt, Vancouver Sun, Dec 9, 2017
[BC’s Oil and Gas Commission is supposed to safeguard the public interest. But it acts instead as a shill for the natural gas industry. For years, it has withheld information from the public about the industry’s pollulting practies. Canada says it wants to ‘reconcile’ with First Nations over the country’s colonial past. The oil and gas industry is not only a relic in a warming world, it is a reminder that colonial practices continue.
[The NDP government in British Columbia is committed to a gas fracking future for the province, joining its NDP government counterpart in Alberta in extolling the virtures of planet-wrecking fossil fuels. According to the Vancouver Sun‘s lead columnist on provincial affairs, NDP Premier John Horgan is expected to anounce that his government will proceed with the ‘Site C’ hydro-electric dam boondoggle on the Peace River, notwithstanding critics who condemn Site C’s environmental damage, its violations of First Nations concensus, and the fact that the electricity to be generated has no proven market. But the hidden story is that Site C is a gamble that its power will eventually be needed for the crazed plan to develop a liquefied natural gas industry in BC. NDP leaders have always shared the LNG aspirations of the corrupt Liberal Party government which the NDP defeated in the May 2017 election.]
Assembly of First Nations votes for chief commissioner of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls Inquiry to resign, report by Aboriginal Peoples Televison Network, Dec 7, 2017
[But 80 per cent of delegates were not in attendance and didn’t vote when inquiry head Marion Buller addressed the AFN’s ‘Special Chiefs Assembly’ in Ottawa on its third and final day.]
How British Columbia became a gangster’s paradise, by Gary Mason, columnist, Globe and Mail, Dec 7, 2017
… It’s been so easy to play the game in B.C. [launder money through casinos], it’s become notorious around the world… The fact is, there has for years been suspicions that Vancouver has been a prime money-laundering destination and that a lot of that cash has been used to fuel the insane rise in house prices. In fact, court documents uncovered by Postmedia’s Sam Cooper, whose seminal reporting has exposed the degree to which money laundering has become a massive undertaking in B.C., show that some of those suspected of having prime roles in this shady business own mansions and penthouses around the city…
Related: How B.C. casinos are used to launder millions in drug cash, special report by Sam Cooper, Vancovuer Sun, Sept 29, 2017
Montreal police Chief Philippe Pichet fired after years of revelations of corruption, more recent revelations of spying on journalists, report on CBC News, Dec 6, 2017
[The Montreal police force has a tradition of violently suppressing social protest, but its known history of corruption is dominating news. Similarly, its practice of illegally spying on journalists is playing second fiddle; more than one year has lapsed since that was uncovered. ‘Only in Russia’, you say?]
Background: Uproar in Canada as widespread police spying on journalists in Quebec revealed, news compilation by New Cold War.org, Nov 3, 2016
Polluting pulp mill in Nova Scotia pressures Coles bookstore chain to cancel event for book critical of its operations, CBC News, Dec 5, 2017
[Conservative family dynasties and natural resource vandals rule the roost in Nova Scotia. Coles bookstore in New Glasgow cancelled an event scheduled for December 2 featuring author Susan Baxter and her new book, The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest. The local ‘Northern Pulp’ mill was built by Scott Paper near Pictou in the 1960s and has been poisoning the surrounding air, land and waters ever since. Wikipedia.]
Liberals reject warship proposal that European companies said is half the price of the Lochheed Martin/BAE bid, by David Pugliese, National Post, Dec 6, 2017
[The original injury is that in the era of Russia truthing and the new cold war, a multi-billion warship building program by the Canadian government would pass without antiwar protest. Adding insult to injury is the patronizing favouring the Lockhhed/BAE/Irving consortium and doubling the cost.]
How former Canadian PM Mulroney panders to his billionaire friends and arms dealers exposed in Paradise Papers, front-page report in Toronto Star, Nov 29, 2017
Related: New Mulroney Institute at Nova Scotia university is bankrolled by international billionaires steeped in scandal, CBC News, Nov 30, 2017
Four in ten Metro Vancouver workers are immigrants, census finds, by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, Nov 29, 2017
… Immigrants account for 43 per cent of all workers in Metro Vancouver, with 586,000 in the labour force, one of the highest proportions in the world, according to new census figures. One of the few major global cities with a stronger percentage of immigrants in the labour force is Greater Toronto, where half of all workers are immigrants.
…Only 47 per cent of the 35,000 adult ethnic Chinese immigrants who arrived in Metro Vancouver between 2011 and 2016 told census takers that they were available for work. That compares to 80 per cent of recent Filipino immigrants who were available for work, 82 per cent of white [sic] immigrants and 71 per cent of recent South Asian arrivals. The low rate of ethnic Chinese participation in Metro Vancouver’s workforce dovetails with other demographic analyses that indicate the city is increasingly becoming home to wealthy trans-national Chinese immigrants, many of whom choose not to work even while they’re able to afford condos and houses.
Across Canada, 4.5 million immigrants are in the labour force. Immigrants have grown to 23.8 per cent of all workers in 2016, up from 21.2 per cent in 2006.
The census figures on immigrants in the workforce does not include hundreds of thousands of non-permanent residents who also hold down jobs in Canada. Statistics Canada official Sylvie Bourbonnais said Wednesday the census found 35,000 non-permanent residents, out of a total of 71,000 in Metro Vancouver, work in the city. Many are international students.
Figures provided by Canada’s Immigration Department suggests the 2016 census, which relies on self-reporting, underestimates the total number of non-permanent residents in Metro Vancouver by about half. The actual figure is closer to 130,000.
However, UBC economists Craig Riddell and David Green are among those disputing claims immigration can offset Canada’s large baby-boom generation.
Related: How migration wars impact Metro Vancouver’s high-tech sector, by Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun, July 29, 2017
Six points on the Liberals’ national housing strategy, by Jean Swanson and Sara Sagaii (housing rights activists in Vancouver BC), Nov 25, 2017 [Read the two-page statement here: Six points on Canadian gov’t housing strategy, by Swanson and Sigalii, Nov 25, 2017.]
News background: Liberals detail $40B for 10-year national housing strategy, introduce Canada Housing Benefit, CBC News, Nov 22, 2017
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls risks sliding into irrelevancy, by Gary Mason, columnist, Globe and Mail, Nov 28, 2017
Generally, when 22 or more people quit or are laid off from a small organization in the span of just over a year, it’s never a good sign. It would usually point to deep dysfunction, if not complete chaos and upheaval. A
ll are terms being used to describe what is going on inside the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Almost from its inception, it’s been enveloped by controversy, leaving chief commissioner Marion Buller to try and convince a skeptical public and angry Indigenous community that all will be fine – eventually. I’m not so sure…
Green party scores ‘absolutely astounding’ win in Prince Edward Island by-election, Canadian Press, Nov 28, 2017 [The conservative Green Party wins its second seat in PEI legislature.]
CSIS is secretly capturing phone-identifying data of those it calls terrorism suspects, report by Colin Freeze, in Globe and Mail, Nov 28, 2017
Canada’s domestic spy service has been capturing the phone-identifying data of terrorism suspects for years without judicial knowledge or oversight, according to a ruling released Tuesday. But the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s warrantless use of data-capturing devices is legal and proper in most instances, the ruling says, as long as the agency restricts what it does with captured information.
The decision from Federal Court Chief Justice Paul Crampton relates to CSIS warrant applications for an “Islamist terrorism” investigation, although the identities of the target individuals are being withheld. It amounts to the most detailed ruling to date by any Canadian court on government agents’ use of devices known as IMSI catchers, “Stingrays,” or “cell-site simulator” (CSS) technology…
BC government meeting with experts all week to decide fate of Site C hydro-electric dam, by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, Nov 27, 2017
… The NDP government sent the project, which is already $2-billion into construction, to a review of the B.C. Utilities Commission and Mr. Austin said that independent review demonstrates that the project, even this far along, is destined to be a white elephant because of the cheap renewable-power alternatives that are available.
Gridlocked in Canada, TransCanada eyes U.S. Gulf Coast for oil and LNG exports, by Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, Nov 28, 2017
Related: This $16B Alberta-B.C. oil pipeline has First Nations backing — but it may still never get built, by Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, Nov 23, 2017 First Nations left empty-handed as environmentalist pressure kills B.C. energy projects, by Claudia Cattaneo, Financial Post, Nov 16, 2017
Former NDP MP to ask International Criminal Court to investigate Canada’s Afghan war conduct, CBC News, Nov 27, 2017
… Craig Scott, an Osgoode Hall law professor who was defeated in the 2015 election, will hand deliver a 90-page brief to the court in the Hague, arguing that successive federal governments “abdicated” their responsibility to investigate reports of torture…
Public editor of Globe and Mail daily offers up a defense of the Globe’s Nov 18 witch-hunt article directed at Global Research website, column by Sylvia Stead, public editor, Globe and Mail, Nov 25, 2017
Related: Defending RT America against new cold war censorship, by Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, Nov 15, 2017 (with additional analysis contained in website posting)
I was the lone Canadian media reporter inside the world climate summit, by Mike De Souza, The National Observer (three free reads per molnth), in Opinion | November 23rd 2017
White collar criminals in British Columbia rarely face police investigation or jail time, by Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, Nov 24, 2017 (latest article in an ongoing series in the Vancouver Sun)
‘The [police] bosses would rather see investigators take on a drug case. That can be wrapped up more quickly than a complex fraud case…’
Related: Hundreds of millions of penalties issued by B.C. Securities Commission going unpaid, by Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, Nov 17, 2017
Canada National Archives uncovers 300 letters of outrage from Japanese Canadians who lost their homes [lives] during the 1940s internments, by Jordan Stanger-Ross, published in The Conversation, Nov 21, 2017 (Jordan Stanger-Ross is Associate Professor, History and Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives, University of Victoria
[Rachel Notley’s blue-chip speaking tour has her speaking in Toronto to the Empire Club on Nov 20, in Ottawa to the Economic Club of Canada on Nov 21, to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Nov 24 and Edmonton Chamber of Commerce on Dec 7, and to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on Nov 30. This is a case of ‘preaching to the converted’ if ever there was one. But her message is intended for the federal government and for that part of the Canadian population unaware of the consequences of runaway global warming.]
[For a report on what Notley is saying to business leaders and the rest of the country, see: Alberta’s Rachel Notley urges Trudeau to speak up for pipelines, The National Observer, Nov 21, 2017 … Demand for oil worldwide will “continue to rise,” Notley said, and “the world can either buy its oil from Alberta, where we are taking climate change seriously, or it can buy it from places with runaway emissions like Venezuela and Russia.”
[In the eyes of some on the left in Canada, the Alberta premier is leading a fight against climate change. See: Rachel against the storm, by Chanchal Bhattacharya, Rabble.ca, Nov 23, 2017
[Canada’s fossil-fuel corrupted trade unions have welcomed recent statements by the Alberta and federal governments that they will financially assist workers who may lose their jobs in the coal extraction and burning industries as a result of the phasing out of electricity generated by the burning of coal. Alberta has a plan to replace coal with natural gas in generating electricity by the year 2030. It is a key point in the Alberta government’s public relations drive saying it is concerned about global warming (all the while encouraging a 50 per cent increase in tar sands production in the coming decades–market conditions, public opinion and contrary environmental defense actions permitting). Presently, 55 per cent of electricity in Alberta is generated by coal. The two other, large coal-sourcing provinces for electricity are Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.
[Canada will continue to extract and export coal. Vancouver BC is North America’s largest coal exporting port. Like other large, capitalist countries, Canada does not factor into its greenhouse gas emission figures the emissions caused by its exports of Alberta tar sands, natural gas and oil to the United States and coal to Asia.]
One in two Canadians is a bundle of nerves about money, by Rob Carrick, financial investment columnist, Globe and Mail, Nov 16, 2017
A recent survey of 5,200 people by a financial services consulting firm has uncovered a staggering level of repressed financial stress. Forty-seven per cent of participants agreed that money worries cause them extreme emotional stress, and 40 per cent said money worries cause them to lose sleep. Only about half of money worriers are talking about their problems with others.
“We were shocked, to be honest, at the levels of stress,” said Eloise Duncan, principal at Seymour Management Consulting, which commissioned the study to support its Financial Health Index…
Related: OECD warns of rising private debt as Canadians most in the red, Bloomberg News, Nov 23, 2017
… The OECD warned that rising private debt loads in both advanced and developing economies pose a risk to growth as Canada, South Korea and the U.K. lead the world in household borrowing… Consumer debt tops 100 per cent of gross domestic product in Canada, with South Korea and Britain both above 80 per cent…
War, cholera, lack of food are pushing Yemen to the brink, by Michelle Shephard, national security reporter, Toronto Star (page one), Nov 18, 2017
… The heads of three UN agencies — World Food Program, UNICEF and the World Health Organization — issued a joint statement on November 16 saying seven million Yemenis, mainly children, are on the brink of famine…
[While the Canadian government, its broadcasting arm, the CBC, and the Globe and Mail daily newspaper ramp up the rhetoric and threats against Russia and Venezuela with a ‘Magnitsky Act’ law, Canadian ally Saudi Arabia is destroying an entire nation of Yemen. Even a commendable article such as this one in the Toronto Star softens the treatment of Saudi Arabia by calling the war in Yemen “an apparent proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran”.]
Religion is still an instrument of colonialism, by Zainab Amadahy and Azeezah Kanji, op-ed commentary in Toronto Star, Nov. 15, 2017
Anti-Russia witch-hunt intensifies in Canada, feature article attacking the polyglot website project Global Research, by Steven Chase and Mark MacKinnon, in the Globe and Mail national daily, Nov 18, 2017. Original headline: NATO research centre sets sights on Canadian website over pro-Russia disinformation.
… The site has disseminated articles that claimed the Assad regime was not behind the April chemical weapon attack that drew a punitive U.S. missile strike, also suggesting it was a hoax and that the deadly nerve agent sarin was not used.
… In the case of the April 4  sarin-gas attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people – and which sparked U.S. President Donald Trump to order a cruise-missile strike on the Syrian air base from which the attack was launched – globalresearch.ca was among the first to carry a story that claimed the Syrian regime was innocent of the attack
* ‘Fictitious probe, baseless accusations’: Russia blocks new extension of Syria chemical inquiry at UN Security Council, news compilation on New Cold War.org, Nov 17, 2017
* Did Al Qaeda dupe Trump on alleged Syrian sarin gas attack on April 4, 2017?, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Nov 9, 2017
* America’s righteous Russia-gate censorship, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Nov 14, 2017 (with extensive, related readings). For an extensive compilation of the writings of Consortium News editor and publisher Robert Parry, see the author page on New Cold War.org containing a selection of his writings from Consortium News.
* How Stephen F. Cohen became the most controversial Russia expert in America, by Jordan Michael Smith, published in Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 15, 2017
* Defending RT America against new cold war censorship, by Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, Nov 16, 2017 (and in the same posting on New Cold War.org: U.S. politics even more conservative under Trump, but not for the reasons expected, by Danny Haiphong, contributor, Black Agenda Report, Nov 15, 2017
* Simpler explanations are usually correct, even on Russia, by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg News, Nov 15, 2017* U.S. votes against UN resolution condemning Nazi glorification, allies abstain, by Associated Press, Nov 16, 2017 (with extensive, related documentation in the posting of this item on New Cold War.org)
Hundreds of millions of penalties issued by B.C. Securities Commission going unpaid, by Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, Nov 17, 2017
[You’re a corporate criminal looting people’s investment and retirement funds? No problem! Welcome to British Columbia, Canada! Vancovuer Sun writer Gordon Hoekstra explains:]
… Michael Lathigee and Earle Pasquill… are among more than 80 fraudsters who have harmed thousands of investors — in B.C., other parts of Canada, the United States and as far away as Switzerland — yet have escaped paying the largest penalties issued by the [B.C. Securities Commission], an investigation by Postmedia News has found.
From fiscal 2007-08 to 2016-17, the B.C. Securities Commission has collected less than two per cent of $510 million in fines and orders to pay back the proceeds of fraudulent activities, according to the commission’s financial reports and other records. For the biggest fines, handed out for the most egregious violations and frauds, such as those for Lathigee and Pasquill, the collection rate is far worse.
On human rights and climate change, Justin Trudeau’s actions don’t match his talk, by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Nov 14, 2017
… The former Conservative government of Stephen Harper came up with a plan to phase out most coal-fired generation. The Trudeau government accelerated it. Ontario has closed its coal-fired plants and Alberta has promised to do the same. But Canada is not phasing out coal.
First, the federal government plans to exempt coal-fired generating plants that are able to reduce their emissions significantly through new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage. This is perilously close to the notion of clean coal that Trump is mocked for discussing.
Second, Canada continues to mine and export coal for other countries to burn. In 2015, it exported more than 30 million tonnes, mainly to Asian steelmaking plants.
All of which is to say that [Environment Minister Catherine] McKenna’s crusade against coal, while welcome, isn’t exactly as advertised…
In 2015, then-BC Premier Christy Clark met, encouraged tycoons in Hong Kong fueling Vancouver’s house price bubble, but she lied to the BC public about her doings, report in Vancouver Sun, Nov 14, 2017
… Back at home, meantime, public complaints about housing affordability in B.C. was so intense that Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson had released a letter urging Clark to take extraordinary tax measures to cool speculation in the market. Clark’s response said there was no reason to tax luxury housing because Finance Ministry data suggested little evidence that foreign investors made up a significant portion of the market.
However, notes for Wat’s 2015 Asia trade mission show a different “master narrative” for internal use only… The notes say potential Asian investors were to be told that, “the government’s willingness to permit a foreigner to own a significant portion of Vancouver … marked a significant turning point in the city’s development.”…
Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on U.S. West Coast, by Gillian Flaccus and Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press, Nov 9, 2017
Affordability crisis worsens homelessness in Vancouver, Canada, by Cheryl Chan, Vancouver Sun, Sept 26, 2017
… Across Metro Vancouver, the number of homeless people jumped by 30 per cent to 3,605 people compared with the year 2014. That’s the highest since 2002 when the homeless counts started. About half of the homeless who participated in the anonymous survey identified high rents and lack of income as the main barriers to housing. Addiction and mental illness were also factors, with 82 per cent of people dealing with at least one health condition.
At least 70 homeless people have died in Toronto in the first 9 months of 2017, by Muriel Draaisma, CBC News, Oct 30, 2017
Ontario government lied for decades, saying it didn’t know about mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows First Nation, by David Bruser, news reporter, and Jayme Poisson, investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Nov. 11, 2017
Will Ottawa take up the legal fight against Quebec’s face-covering ban?, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2017
Discovering my mother’s secret and my Métis family’s heroism, by Dana Robbins, special to Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2017
Great-aunt’s action in Battle of Fish Creek during the Métis rebellion of 1884-85 and Métis family heritage was a family burden but later a lesson for Canadian reconciliation
Canadian governments’ history of facilitating offshore tax havens, analysis by Marco Oved, Toronto Star, Nov 10, 2017
… Offshore tax havens were born decades ago, in an era when currency controls and restricted trade ruled the global economy. Then tariff barriers came down, globalization gathered speed and tax havens grew from a cottage industry for a few currency traders into fortified fortresses for family fortunes and multinational profits.
How the Paradise Papers leak unfolded at the Toronto Star, by Kenyon Wallace, news reporter, Toronto Star, Nov. 10, 2017
It was early one morning in January 2017 and the phone on Toronto Star reporter Rob Cribb’s desk rang. It was Marina Walker Guevara, deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. “There’s been another leak,” she said. “I think you’re going to be very interested. There are a lot of prominent Canadian names. Can you come to Munich for a meeting?”
And with that, the Toronto Star’s involvement began with the Paradise Papers, which, like the Panama Papers in 2015, are a trove of leaked electronic records revealing the ways many of the wealthiest people and companies in the world stash money in tax-free offshore investments…
Number of deadly overdoses in British Columbia passes 1,100 for 2017, CBC News, Nov 9, 2017
The BC Coroners Service says more than 1,100 British Columbians died due to a suspected illicit drug overdose [poisoning] in the first nine months of the year, with most happening in the days immediately following welfare payments. On November 9, the service reported there were 80 suspected deaths in September — up 31 per cent from the same month last year. That brings the total for the year up to 1,103, far surpassing the 922 in all of 2016…
[The rate of drug poisonings in British Columbia is approximately equal to that of the United States. In 2015, the U.S. state with the least overdose deaths was Nebraska, with 6.9 deaths per 100,000; the state with the most was West Virginia, with 41.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 (source). BC’s rate for 2017 is headed for 32 deaths per 100,000; in 2015, it was 11 per 100,000.]
Canada: ‘Every single year, we’ve seen an increase in Aboriginal prison rate’”, by Tamara Khandaker, VICE News, March 16, 2017
Over the past decade, the percentage of Indigenous and black inmates in Canadian prisons has risen dramatically, even as the population of white inmates has dropped, according to the latest figures from the office of the correctional investigator…
While Indigenous people make up less than five per cent of the Canadian population, they make up 25 percent of the total inmate population. Just three percent of the population is black, yet they’re 10 per cent of the prison population…
Student calls for return of Louis Riel’s walking stick to Métis, National Post, Nov 2, 2017
Related: Petition calls for return of Louis Riel’s walking stick to Métis people, Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 31, 2017
Review of ‘Ste C’ hydroelectric dam boondoggle in northern BC says alternative energies are a better choice, CBC News, Nov 1, 2017
[A review by the BC Utilities Commission which the preceding Liberal Party government had bypassed in commencing construction of the $10 billion-plus Site C dam on the Peace River in northern British Columbia warns that the economics of the dam are dubious.
[The ‘Muscrat Falls’ dam project in Labrador is on every analysts’ mind–that project has come in at $13 billion–more than double its estimated cost–and now condemns future generations of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to huge electricity price hikes.
[The unspoken story of Site C is how it was planned to fuel natural gas fracking and liquefaction as well as mining projects in northern BC; if all else failed, Site C electricity would be sold to Alberta to power tar sands extraction.]
Columbia River Treaty interesting option as NDP ponders Site C, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Nov 3, 2017
Why BC Liberals blocked usual independent review for Site C, by Zoë Ducklow, The Tyee, April 10, 2017 Politicians wanted to avoid tough questions about need for project, future costs, critics say
Alberta NDP premier Rachel Notley undertakes national speaking tour on behalf of fossil fuel industry, Globe and Mail, Nov 7, 2017
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will embark on a speaking tour this month to ask Canadians to gather national support for a new pipeline project, in an effort to neutralize a sustained political attack from a United Conservative Party energized by the recent crowning of Jason Kenney.
Her visits to Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver come as the Alberta government is looking increasingly cornered in its quest to get one project constructed from Alberta to a coast. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast has stalled amid a ferocious jurisdictional dispute with pipeline opponents in British Columbia, while TransCanada Corp. cancelled its plans for the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline from Alberta to the Atlantic last month…
Two years into her term as premier, Ms. Notley’s tone on energy development has become harder – even in relation to those in her own party. She said in Question Period on November 6 that federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s position against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is “dead wrong.”
“But just as important, he is irrelevant,” she said…
Related: Pipeline opposition in British Columbia animates right-wing protest against Alberta’s NDP gov’t, column by Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, Nov 6, 2017
Why BC needs a public inquiry into natural gas fracking, op-ed by Ben Parfitt, The Tyee, Nov 7, 2017 (also appearing in the Vancouver Sun)
Last year, more natural gas was produced in British Columbia than at any point in the past 10 years. That may come as a surprise to some people who thought growth in B.C.’s natural gas industry hinged on the emergence of a liquified natural gas sector. It does not. The reality is that even without a much-hyped LNG industry, natural gas production in B.C. increased 70 per cent over the past decade, with major customers, including Alberta’s tar sands industry, fuelling that growth…
Related: Public inquiry needed to properly investigate deep social and environmental harms of fracking, coalition says, press release issued Nov 6, 2017
With all Quebec parties supporting an anti-Muslim face-covering ban, Quebec voters face few options,
CBC News, Nov 7, 2017
… Québec Solidaire, the left-leaning party that has just three seats in the National Assembly, said it would not go as far as the Liberals did in their legislation, but it would maintain some restrictions on religious face-covering. Co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said his party would keep the ban for all public servants but would only require members of the public to unveil when it is necessary to identify them or for security purposes.
Related: Quebec’s face-covering law heads for constitutional challenge, CBC News, Nov 7, 2017
Indigenous youth who use drugs in British Columbia are dying at 13 times the rate of Caucasian counterparts, CBC News, Nov 6, 2017
… The report is an analysis of data collected between 2003 and 2014. Of the 610 young people followed during that time, 40 of them died. [But Canada’s foreign minister wants to talk about Russia and Venezuela.]
Indigenous child welfare rates creating ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Canada, says federal minister, CBC News, Nov 2, 2017
The disproportionate number of Indigenous children currently in the child welfare system has created a “humanitarian crisis” in the country, says Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott…
Philpott said in Manitoba, there are a total of 11,000 children in care and 10,000 are Indigenous children. Statistics Canada census data released last week revealed 4,300 Indigenous children under the age of four are currently in foster care. “This is very much reminiscent of the residential school system where children are being scooped up from their homes, taken away from their family and we will pay the price for this for generations to come,” she said…
[The new-found zeal of Canada’s government to recognize its past crimes against First Nations people might led Minister Jane Philpot to do something about the ongoing desecration of the gravesites of at least 74 Indigenous children who died after they were stolen from their families and forced to attend the Battleford Industrial School in Saskatchewan at the turn of the 20th century. Earlier, in 1974, the cemetery site was excavated by the Department of Archeology at the University of Saskatchewan.]
Canada, human rights hypocrite, uses its new ‘Magnitsky’ law to hit Russia and Venezuela with increased sanctions, report on CBC News, Nov 3, 2017
[Fifty two individuals from Russia, Venezuela and South Sudan are named by Canada for sanctions. The state-run broadcaster, CBC, dances in tune to the federal government action, calling the death of Sergei Magnitisky, a financial investment accountant, in a Russian prison in 2009 a “murder”. It sub-headlines its news article ‘Venezuela’s corrupt ruling clique’ and writes “Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and many of his senior officials were already sanctioned by Canada on Sept. 22 for their role in gutting democracy and rule of law in the country.”
[Canada’s mainstream as well as alternative media has been deaf, dumb and blind in failing to report the fraudulent, anti-Russia crusade of financier Bill Browder, who has spearheaded the drive for adoption of ‘Magnitsky Act’ sanctions against Russia in the U.S., UK and Canada (not coincidentally, the three NATO countries with troops in Ukraine.) He renounced his U.S.citizenship in 2008 in order to avoid paying taxes and lives in the UK. His story is told in lengthy report by the 100 Reporters media project in the United States and also in the 2016 film, The Magnitsky Act: Behind The Scenes. (See: Mainstream media in U.S. and Canada caught out as U.S. reporting project sheds unfavourable light on UK citizen financier and campaigner Bill Browder, by Roger Annis, Oct 27, 2017.]
Canada’s party line on Venezuela.
[The Toronto Star‘s Washington reporter, Daniel Dale, writes timely and insightful reports critical of President Donald Trump (Canada’s closest ally in the world). But Dale provides a recent example of the degree to which mainstream media in Canada chooses to parrot the drive by the Canadian and U.S. governments against Venezuela’s socialist revolution. In a November 3 article highlighting Trump’s performance, Dale writes, “He sounded like an autocrat, scarcely different than repressive leaders from Turkey to Venezuela.”
[Amanda Conolly of iPolitics writes on November 3 about Canada’s heightened sanctions against leaders of the Venezuelan government: “The sanctions against the 19 individuals from Venezuela are in response to acts of significant corruption and human rights violations which continue amid efforts by Maduro in recent months to consolidate his power and restrict democracy.”
[The state-run CBC sub-headlines a Nov 2 news article ‘Venezuela’s corrupt ruling clique’ and writes “Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and many of his senior officials were already sanctioned by Canada on Sept. 22 for their role in gutting democracy and rule of law in the country.”
[Anti-Venezuela and anti-Russia propaganda has so infected the body politic of Canada–from newspaper editors to journalists to members of Parliament–that stricken sufferers have lost their sense of what it is to be healthy. On every foreign policy issue that matters, they parrot the line of Donald Trump and the rest of the U.S. corporate establishment.]
Globe and Mail’s lead U.S. reporter calls Oct 31 truck attack in New York the ‘first major terrorist attack’ during the Donald Trump presidency; the white guy who killed 58 people in Las Vegas on October 1 gets a pass, report in Globe and Mail, Nov 3, 2017
When an alleged Islamic State sympathizer drove a truck down a bike lane in Manhattan and killed eight people [on October 31], it presented a test for Donald Trump: How would he respond to the first major terrorist attack in the U.S. of his presidency? …
Retiring Supreme Court judge Beverley McLachlin misses the mark with sexual-assault comments, op-ed commentary by David Butt, Globe and Mail, Oct 31, 2017
Statement of the third meeting of the Lima Group on the situation in Venezuela, published on the website of the Government of Canada, October 26, 2017
The foreign ministers and representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru gathered in Toronto on October 26, 2017, to continue their evaluation of the situation in Venezuela…
Accusations of sexual assault and suspensions of prison guards at maximum security Edmonton Institution for Women, CBC News, Oct 31, 2017
Ten years later, two perjuring RCMP who killed Polish visitor Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport lose final appeal, will do time, report on CBC News, Oct 30, 2017
Meanwhile: No charges in mentally ill man’s death at Lindsay jail, by Fatima Syed, Toronto Star, Oct 30, 2017 Family continues to demand answers in December 2016 death of Soleiman Faqiri
What’s the next big thing after oil for Alberta?, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Oct 30, 2017 While private industry is looking to the tech sector to create new jobs, none of the political parties has a plan that replaces lost oil revenue.
Five dead in nine hours from drug poisoning in Vancouver region city of Abbotsford, CBC News, Oct 28, 2017 Background: B.C.’s response to overdose deaths is nothing but criminally inadequate, by Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight, Aug 31, 2016
Canada stands back in northern Iraq, suspends military assistance to Kurds, as clashes take place between Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces, report by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Oct 27, 2017 [It’s the old game of ‘divide and rule’: provide weapons to the Kurds but stand back when they come under attack from NATO-member Turkey or the U.S.-allied government in Baghdad.]
* Canadian military reviewing whether to continue providing weapons to Kurds, report by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Oct 25, 2017
* ‘Total destruction’ of Raqqa, Syria by U.S./Kurdish operation against the city, news compilation on New Cold War.org, Oct 25, 2017
Irving Oil ordered to pay $4M for offences related to Lac Mégantic disaster, by Sarah Petz , CBC News, Oct 26, 2017 Company pleaded guilty to 34 counts under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act [Ever wonder how much corporate Canada would measure the lives of Canadians in dollar terms? Now you know: $4 million divided by 47 killed at Lac Mégantic on July 6, 2014=$85,000 each.]
Liberals say there is ‘no plan’ to change law to protect pensioners in wake of Sears’ bankruptcy, CBC News, Oct 25, 2017
Once again, employee pensions threatened after corporate owners plunder then shut down a company, in this case Sears Canada department store chain, report on CBC Radio One’s ‘The Current’, Sept 26, 2017 (listen to the 21-minute broadcast by clicking here)
Puerto Rico of the north? Churchill, Manitoba will be warm this winter thanks to propane gas delivery by ship, but its future worries locals, report on CBC News, Oct 16, 2017 Rail cars shipped out by sea is a sign to residents the land line from Hudson Bay town to Winnipeg remains closed for winter
Northern Manitoba town of Churchill is isolated and ‘feels held hostage’ after U.S. owner decides not to repair rail line, report by Catherine Porter, on New York Times, Aug 30, 2017
Timeline: Two decades of turmoil at the Port of Churchill, on CBC Radio One’s ‘Now Or Never’ program, Oct 21, 2017
Ottawa pays $31.3 million to three Canadian men tortured in Syria in 2001-03, CBC News, Oct 26, 2017 2008 inquiry found the actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of 3 men
Key highlights from latest release of 2016 census data, The Canadian Press, Oct 25, 2017 Share of immigrants in Canada has reached its highest level in almost a century
… The census counted 1.67 million Indigenous people in Canada in 2016, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population — up from 3.8 per cent in 2006 for a growth rate of 42.5 per cent over the last 10 years, four times the rate of the non-Indigenous population. The average age of the Indigenous population was 32.1 years, nearly a decade younger than the non-Indigenous population at 40.9 years. The census counted 145,645 children aged 0-4, 8.7 per cent of Aboriginal people in Canada. One in five Indigenous people in Canada is living in a dwelling that needs “major repairs,” while one in 10 lives in a household that has a space shortfall of at least one bedroom…
Highlights from latest report on Canadian income levels (Census 2016), The Canadian Press, Sept 13, 2017
Census 2016: Toronto housing affordability now worse than Vancouver, Globe and Mail, Oct 25, 2017
NDP gov’t in British Columbia unveils new climate policy advisory council, by Simon Little and Liza Yuzda, CKNW News, Oct 24, 2017
[Following Premier John Horgan’s tour to northwest BC on October 21 promoting natural gas fracking and liquefying for export, his government has appointed a 22-member, environmental advisory council. It will meet quarterly and be co-chaired by Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, and Marcia Smith, a senior vice-president with Teck Resources. Clean Energy Canada is based at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and promotes green capitalist solutions to the climate crisis–electric automobiles, replacing the grossly excessive production of energy by fossil fuels with grossly excessive production of energy by ‘renewable’ sources such as wind and energy, etc. Teck Resources is Canada’s largest coal extraction company.
[The previous Liberal Party government in BC also appointed a environmental advisory council. It issued a report in October 2015 with 32 recommendations, all of which were ignored by the government. Some members of the ‘team’ went public with its disappointments in May 2016. For a time, the government’s ‘Climate Leadership Team’ served a useful public relations role, including convincing ‘environmentalists’ to join it.]
Fraser Valley homeless population grows faster than Vancouver’s, by Justin McElroy, CBC News, Oct 13, 2017
Deadly Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster was avoidable corporate crime, by Justin Mikulka, Desmog Blog, Oct 24, 2017
Damning new testimony from an engineer of the locomotive involved in the deadly 2013 oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Canada, reveals several ways corporate cost-cutting directly led to the accident, which claimed 47 lives…
Ontario’s environmental watchdog blasts province for inaction on ‘outrageous’ pollution in Indigenous communities, by Emma McIntosh, Toronto Star, Oct 24, 2017
The Ontario government has, for decades, turned a blind eye to “outrageous” pollution causing serious health effects in Indigenous communities, the province’s environment watchdog reported on October 24…
Anti-pipeline Gitxsan First Nation angry over BC government’s deal with unelected band chiefs for liquefied nattural gas project in Kitimat, by George Baker, Andrew Kurjata, CBC News, Oct 20, 2016
Members of the Gitxsan First Nation opposed to pipeline development are outraged that nine unelected hereditary chiefs are working on a deal with the province connected to a natural gas pipeline on B.C.’s north coast. The documents were leaked and posted online, prompting an emergency meeting to discuss next steps…
BC gov’t supports LNG project on north coast, by Brent Jang, Globe and Mail, Oct 22, 2017
[Shell’s ‘LNG Canada’ industrial plant in Kitimat would be fed by boosting natural gas fracking in the northeast of the province and constructing a 900 kilometer gas pipeline to the Pacific Ocean coast. A string of LNG projects for BC have been cancelled due to international economic conditions, but the NDP’s love of gas fracking, shared with the previous Liberal Party government, is undeterred. The Green Party opposes LNG but supported a now-dead, bizarre plan to build a tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat to then feed a multi-billion dollar refinery.]
Assembly of First Nations reveals it ceased cooperation with federal government on changes to ‘First Nations consultation on natural resource projects, APTN News, Oct 19, 2017
Related: First Nations leaders break with Ottawa on environmental policy, by Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail, Oct. 19, 2017
Quebec ban on face coverings a blatant violation of religious freedom, op-ed commentary by David Butt, Globe and Mail, Oct 19, 2017 (David Butt is a criminal lawyer in Toronto and reglar contributor to the G&M)
With Halloween imminent, people turn their thoughts to the good-natured duplicity of costumes. But there is a much darker duplicity afoot as well. Under the mask of pursuing “social cohesion”, the Quebec legislature has passed a bill [Bill 62, approved on Oct 18, 2017] denying women the right to receive public services while wearing a veil for religious reasons. The law is a blatant violation of religious freedom guaranteed by the Charter of Rights…
Related: Words fail Trudeau in response to Quebec’s ban on face coverings, by Campbell Clark, columnist, Globe and Mail, Oct 20, 2017
Anatomy of a witchhunt in Toronto in early 2017 against a Muslim cleric, page one feature article by Jenifer Yang, Toronto Star, Oct 22, 2017
Muslim women respond to Quebec’s Bill 62, interviews with three women of Muslim faith from Quebec, on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Oct 20, 2017
Background: What Europe should learn from Turkey’s headscarf fight, by Nil Köksal, CBC News, March 15, 2017
BC NDP gov’t sticks with ‘bizarre’ first-time homebuyer program that fuels house price bubble, by Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Oct 19, 2017
Quebec bans face covering in public services, raising worries among Muslims, by Ingrid Peretz, Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
[Bill 62 was approved by a majority of the Quebec National Assembly on October 18, 2017. The law was proposed by the Liberal Party government. Voting against the law were the two right-wing parties in the National Assembly, saying it was not harsh enough, and the left-wing Québec solidaire party. The latter agrees, in principle, with the need for a law to regulate ‘secularism’ in government services but says the government has failed to simultaneously address social and human rights discrimination against national and religious minorities.
[Two attempts by previous governments in Quebec to legislate ‘secularism’ in the public domain failed in recent years. A 2010 attempt by a Liberal Party government died after two years. Then came a highly controversial ‘Charter of Values’ (Wikipedia) proposal by a minority Parti québécois government in 2013 that would ban teachers, doctors and other public workers from wearing highly visible religious symbols and had similar face covering restrictions as Bill 62. That government was defeated by the Liberals in a 2014 election.
[On January 29 of 2017, a 27 year old university student shot dead six men while they were attending prayers at a mosque in Quebec City.]
Quebec’s niqab ban: Muslim women are an easy political target, commentary by Idil Issa, Globe and Mail, Oct 18, 2017
With Bill 62, Quebec attacks religious freedom, editorial, Globe and Mail, Oct 18, 2017
Quebec set to pass Bill 62 banning face coverings for anyone receiving public service — even a bus ride, by Benjamin Shingler, CBC News, Oct 16, 2017
[Quebec’s Bill 62 was approved on October 18. It is inspired by the official ‘secularism’ in France which, in reality, is neo-colonialism in ‘secular’ garb. The opposition parties in the Quebec National Assembly are opposing the law for different reasons. The two right-wing parties–the nationalist Parti québecois and Coalition avenir Québec–want the Parti liberal government to ditch the ‘reasonable accomodation’ clause in Bill 62. An August 15, 2017 report in the Montreal Gazette describes reasonable accomodation as follows:
Demand for reasonable accommodation for cases involving religious rights would be treated if:
* It is serious
* It respects gender equality
* It respects government religious neutrality
* If it is reasonable, meaning that it doesn’t impose any excessive constraints on individuals and takes into consideration the rights of the other parties involved, their health and security, the proper functioning of an organization, and the costs related to it
[The moderate left-wing party Québec solidaire voted against Bill 62 because it says those targetted by the new law already face much social and human rights discrimination. In the final National Assembly debate on Bill 62 on October 17, party leader Amir Khadir said his party will vote ‘no’ “notwithstanding the fact we would prefer to do otherwise”. Khadir says Québec solidaire would like to see a charter of secularism in Quebec along the lines of the recommendations in the report of the Bouchard Taylor Commission delivered in 2008. The commission’s formal name was ‘Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences’; background to it is here and here. Earlier this year, Québec solidaire proposed an ammendment to the law that the Christian cross which adorns the Quebec National Assembly be removed; the resolution was defeated. The party is proposing that the estimated $100 million of annual government subsidy to private (including religion-based) schools be phased out. As of October 17, the party’s website makes little direct mention of Bill 62.]
News and analysis:
* Bill 62 would mean no face coverings on the bus, minister confirms, by Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette, Oct 17, 2017
* Does Quebec need a ‘charter of secularism’?, by Québec solidaire member Benoit Renaud, June 13, 2013
Quebec and its niqab legislation needs to stay out of women’s closets, op-ed commentary by Shree Paradkar, Toronto Star, Oct 17, 2017
… Bill 62, labelled as “an act to foster adherence to state religious neutrality,” is the face of contemporary dog whistle anti-Islamic politics couched as a unique commitment to secularism. Just leave that crucifix hanging on the wall behind the Quebec parliamentary speaker’s chair, please. That’s historical…
The racist, anti-French mobs that burned down homes and Canada’s Parliament building in Montreal in 1849, Wikipedia
[The hidden history of Canada’s anti-French racist mobs in Montreal in 1849 has come to light as a result of the archaeological dig at the site of the Parliament building torched in the city that year. Ongoing English mob threats in 1849 prompted a move of the capital of the United Province of Canada from Montreal to Toronto. The United Province of Canada was formed in 1841 in the wake of the democracy rebellions of 1837-38 in order to diminish the rights of French-speaking settlers in the British colony of Lower Canada (the future Quebec). The formation of Canada in 1867 saw Ontario and Quebec established as distinct provinces with their own provincial assemblies.]
The drug industry’s triumph over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency: Special reporting by The Washington Post and CBS ’60 Minutes’, report by Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, in Washington Post, Oct 15, 2017
In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight…
* DEA responds to explosive ’60 Minutes’ report about opioid crisis, CBS News, Oct 16, 2017
* Trump pick for drug czar Tom Marino pulls out after CBC/Wa Po report details his role in sabotaging bill to control opioid sales, The Guardian, Oct 17, 2017
* The secretive family that own Oxycontin and makes billions from the opioid crisis, Esquire, Oct 18, 2017
BC drug overdose deaths to end-August 2017 now surpass total for all of 2016, CBC News, Oct 12, 2017
The British Columbia Coroner’s Service says the number of overdose deaths in the province during the first eight months of this year has surpassed the total number of overdose deaths in all of 2016.
The service says in the first eight months of 2017, 1,013 people died from a suspected illicit drug overdose. The corresponding number in 2016 was 922. Preliminary data says there were 113 suspected drug overdose deaths in August 2017 [nearly 80 per cent higher than August 2016]…
U.S. drug overdose (drug poisoning) deaths hit 64,000 in 2016, report in New York Times, Sept 2, 2017
[There were 64,000 drug overdose (poisoning) deaths in the United States in 2016 according to the U.S. government National Center for Health Statistics. That’s up 22 per cent since 2015 and 540 per cent since 2011. About one third of 2016 deaths were attributable to the opium derivative fentanyl. That same year, there were 944 drug poisoning deaths in British Columbia, a higher death rate than in the U.S. The U.S.-equivalent death total in BC for 2016 was 70,000 (the U.S. population is 75 times that of BC). Drug poisoning deaths in BC to end-July 2017 are 876; that’s an annualized total of 1,500.
For Bombardier employees in Belfast, ‘America first’ amounts to ‘Northern Ireland last’, New York Times, Oct 10, 2017
Related: Boeing lands another victory against Bombardier, but taxpayers are the real losers, by Eric Reguly, Europe columnist, Globe and Mail, Oct 6, 2017
Canada’s farm industries look to expand international sales, will depend more and more on temporary foreign workers to do so, by Jennifer Wells, Toronto Star, Oct 6, 2017
In the same series: This sexually abused migrant worker is now safe — but she knows others aren’t, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Oct 7, 2017; and He’s worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’, by Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter, Toronto Star, Oct. 5, 2017
More turmoil in National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as more directors resign, CBC News, Oct 7, 2017
… Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, has renewed a previous call she’s made for commission head Marian Buller to step down. She said the tone of the controversial long-awaited inquiry has been set by Buller and led to serious problems on the file. Families with missing and murdered loved ones are fed up and some want a complete reset on the inquiry.
… The RCMP pegged the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada at just under 1,200 in a 2014 report, but many — including members of the current Liberal government — believe that number is flawed and may actually be as high as 4,000.
Six facts you need to know about Ottawa’s tax reforms, by David Olive, Toronto Star, Oct 7, 2017
The debate over Ottawa’s tax reforms has been marred by a proliferation of falsehoods akin to the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Here are the facts.
U.S. secretly tested carcinogen in Western Canada during the Cold War, researcher finds, by Victor Ferreira, National Post, October 6, 2017 The U.S. Army secretly dumped a carcinogen on unknowing Canadians in Winnipeg and Alberta during the Cold War in testing linked to weaponry involving radioactive components meant to attack the Soviet Union, according to classified documents revealed in a new book, ‘Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans‘, by author Lisa Martino-Taylor.
Controversy in Sidney Crosby’s home town of Halifax as NHL hockey champs snub fellow NFL and NBA athletes with plan to parade in Trump White House, by Michael MacDonald, Canadian Press, Sept 27, 2017
Related: Sidney Crosby should have done better, commentary by El Jones, in VICE News, Sept 26, 2017
… The fantasy about Canada as a haven from anti-black racism should be put to rest by the UN report [Sept 25, 2017] that details all the ways, from slavery until today, black people have faced injustice in Canada. Crosby himself grew up in a province where black hockey players, descendants of slaves, once pioneered the sport. In Cole Harbour, where he was born, there have been two “race riots” in his own lifetime at the high school… [El Jones, Wikipedia]
Vancouver’s homeless count up 30 per cent in three years, CBC News, Sept 26, 2017
[Upon election to his first term as Vancouver mayor in 2008, green capitalist Gregor Robertson promised to end homelessness in the city by 2015. He failed in that goal, largely because provincial and federal governments don’t care about providing shelter; they are there to serve the property speculators and wealthy home buyers that have driven Canada’s dizzying house price spiral, with Vancouver at the pinnacle of the spiral. Concerns about First Nations rights are very fashionable these days in Ottawa and provincial capitals, but while Indigenous people are only 2.5 per cent of the population of Vancouver region, they are 34 per cent of the homeless population. That just one of a thousand similar statistics showing that Canada’s colonial past remains very much present in the social, economic and political status of Indigenous people.
[Parallel to Canada’s housing crisis is its grim descent into an opioid drug addiction (poisoning) crisis. In British Columbia, there were 944 opioid poisoning deaths in 2016. That number will be surpassed in 2017; by the end of July, there were 876 drug poisoning deaths. A key culprit in the deaths is the decades-old, failed ‘war on drugs’ of the federal and provincial governments, egged on by police agencies. Notwithstanding the quasi-legalization of marijuana possession planned by Ottawa, the ‘war on drugs’ continues relentlessly.]
Bombardier tumbles on new blow to $6 billion bet-the-company jet, Bloomberg News, Sept 26, 2017
Britain’s May ‘bitterly disappointed’ by Bombardier ruling as jobs threatened, Globe and Mail, Sept 27, 2017
How NAFTA’s Chapter 19 could save Bombardier’s C Series jet, Globe and Mail, Sept 26, 2017
U.S. proposals on labour standards fall short of Canada’s NAFTA goals, Globe and Mail, Sept 26, 2017
UN Human Rights Council to discuss report on anti-Black racism in Canada, will recommend federal gov’t apology for history of slavery, Canadian Press, Sept 24, 2017
RCMP agrees to return to Métis people stolen artifacts dating from 1884-85 Northwest (Riel) Rebellion, CBC News, Sept 23, 2017
‘It is, I believe, the first of many steps to come for our broader movement toward self-determination.’
Canada imposes sanctions on key Venezuelan officials, Reuters, Sept 22, 2017
40 individuals, including President Nicolas Maduro, targeted
The odd merger of Bombardier and the Canadian government, by Andrew Coyne, columnist, The National Post, Sept 22, 2017
It is increasingly clear amid the current Bombardier- Boeing dispute that the federal government, at least, views itself and Bombardier as being one and the same
Canada to add Ukraine to permitted weapons export list, Canadian Press, Sept 22, 2017
Opposition MPs urge Morneau to extend tax proposals to family trusts, by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Sept 21, 2017
… The NDP, which had been sitting on the fence over the small-business changes, called on Wednesday for a 75-day extension to the Oct. 2 deadline for public consultations on changes to business taxation and to expand it to include complex tax loopholes used by rich Canadians.
[Small businesses, with doctors (!) in the lead, are fighting against proposed changes to federal tax laws that would make it harder for them to avoid paying taxes.But the Liberal government may have opened a pandora’s box as attention shifts to how the wealthy Canadians, including Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau, use ‘family trusts’ to avoid paying taxes. See: Trudeau dodges questions about taxes on his family wealth, by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Sept 20, 2017 and Trudeau pledges to push through tax fairness agenda and defends own family’s use of tax rules, CBC News, Sept 19, 2017. See also: Insanely concentrated wealth is strangling U.S. prosperity, by Steve Roth, published on his blog Evonomics, Sept 18, 2017.]
Trudeau signals shift that would have Canada joining the U.S. ‘ballistic missile defence’ boondoggle, report by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Sept 19, 2017
[Following Donald Trump’s crazed threat at the United Nations on September 19 to “totally destroy” the country and people of North Korea (news report in New York Times), Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa the same day, “I share everyone’s concern over the reckless behaviour by the North Korean regime, and continue to believe that working with partners and allies in the region and around the world . . . is the best way to de-escalate this situation. As for what the president may have said, I look forward to seeing his speech myself.”
[Military leaders, Liberal and Conservative members of Parliament, and mainstream journalists are egging on the Liberal government to join an unproven ‘North American missile defense’. The Star‘s Bruce Campion-Smith writes: “Under an August 2004 amendment to its mission, Canadians at NORAD headquarters can interpret U.S. satellite and radar data about incoming missiles and transfer it to officials at the missile defence system, the United States Northern Command. That means Canadians could track an incoming missile but be left on the sidelines during the discussion about how to respond.” ‘Missile defense’ is not only unproven, it is a grave escalation of the danger of nuclear war.
[Mainstream Canadian journalists writing about the U.S. escalation of threats against Korea can’t resist genuflecting before those in power. Whatever criticism they might have of Donald Trump, they reassure readers that yes, the leaders whom Trump and the U.S. regime disfavour–particularly those of North Korea and Venezuela–are, indeed, “dictators”, “madmen”, etc, etc. Loyalty established, they go on to fret whether the Trump monstrosity isn’t going “too far” in his rhetoric and threats.]
France eager to have Canada join peacekeeping efforts in Mali, by Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, Sept 19, 2017
[Asked at a news conference in Ottawa on Sept 19 why Canada has not committed its 600 soldiers for the talked-about expeditionary mission to Mali, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied, “We are going to make the right choice about how Canada can best help in engaging in international peacekeeping, and when we make that determination, we will let you know.”]
Federal gov’t bill will give police the power to conduct random, roadside breath testing, by Brian Platt, National Post, Sept 18, 2017
Canada won’t do business with Boeing while it’s ‘busy trying to sue us’, Trudeau says, by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Sept 18, 2017 [could also be titled: ‘Justin Trudeau, CEO of Bombardier Inc, er, Prime Minister of Canada’]. Related item: Trudeau threatens to not buy Boeing fighter jets to protest firm’s trade complaint, by Tonda MacCharles, page one report in Toronto Star, Sept 18, 2017
… “We won’t do business with a company [Boeing] that’s busy trying to sue us [sic] and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”
Trudeau was appearing alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said Canada and the UK would work together to defend Bombardier, which has a factory in Northern Ireland…
On finance minister Bill Morneau’s tax reform plan, column by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Sept 18, 2017 [Small businessmen, including doctors, are up in arms over a federal government plan to reduce the many tax loopholes which allow them to avoid paying taxes. This modest column by Thomas Walkom is the best of a thin collection of commentary to date analyzing the proposed changes.]
Background on how the wealthy in Canada avoid paying taxes:
In Ontario, richest ten per cent take home more money than the bottom 60 per cent of all families combined, Press Progress, Sept 6, 2017 (based on the August 2017 report by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, ‘Losing Ground: Income inequality in Ontario 2000-2015‘.)
Canada’s tax system is still subsidizing the ultrarich, by Dennis Howlett, The Tyee, June 6, 2017 (Dennis Howlett is executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness)
Preferential Treatment: The History and Cost of Tax Exemptions, Credits, and Loopholes in Canada, report by David Macdonald, published by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, May 25, 2017
In 2016, Canadian corporations had $261 billion invested in overseas tax havens, undated report (sometime in 2017) by Canadians for Tax Fairness
[The other legal challenge to Canada’s solitary confinement policy is taking place in a Vancouver courtroom. That action is by the BC Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society. Government lawyers first sought to delay the trials. Now they say that UN rules prohibiting prolonged use of solitary confinement, to which Canada is a signatory, don’t apply in Canada because the prison system “doesn’t practice” solitary confinement. The federal government and prison officials call it “administrative segregation”.]
More drumbeat for Canada to join U.S. in ‘missile defense’, news report by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Sept 14, 2017
[Canada’s top military representative to the NORAD alliance with the U.S. is the latest military leader to tell Canadian Parliamentarians that Canada should join the decades-old and failed ‘missile defense’ program of the United States. Be afraid, very afraid. Or not. Spending on North American ‘missile defense’ goes back many decades and has not produced a system that can destroy flying missiles.
[Canadian journalists also want Canada to pony up; the latest being John Ivison in a scaremongering column in the National Post on Sept 14. The Post headline reads, ‘U.S. policy is not to defend Canada’ from a missile attack (citing a U.S. military chief), while the sub-headline reads, Canada at mercy of a dictator’s whim, referring to the president of North Korea. The journalist writes, “… Canada is, and looks destined to remain, defenseless from ballilstic missile attack.”
[Academics are chining in, too, with Charles Burton penning his latest, hawkish column in the Sept 15 Globe and Mail. (The professor explains that China risks being attacked by North Korea if it doesn’t join the West in attacking North Korea!) The real story of military tensions on the Korean peninsula is the decades-long effort by the United States and its allies to undermine and overthrow the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But you won’t read that in the National Post or Globe and Mail.]
Canada still pondering targets for an expanded, foreign intervention military force, report by Tonda MacCharles on Toronto Star, Sept 12, 2017
The Star has previously reported the options prepared for cabinet last year suggested a deployment at the upper range of those numbers  would have the greatest impact and offer the best chance of success. At the time the French government, under president Francois Hollande, was pressing hard for Canada to send its soldiers into Mali…
[Defense Minister Harjit] Sajjan said he wants any Canadian mission or missions to make a long-term difference using Canadian expertise on reducing “violence against women and how we’re going to reduce the child soldiers that are being recruited.” …
Cost of buying new fighter jets from Boeing pegged at more than $6 billion, report by David Pugliese in National Post, Sept 12, 2017
Related news: Canada, U.K. step up pressure on Boeing to resolve commercial dispute with Bombardier, CBC News, Sept 12, 2017. Bombardier aerospace workers in Montreal to hold rally on Sept 14 backing their company in commercial dispute with Boeing, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Sept 12, 2017
Montreal removes street name of colonial-era, genocidal British General Amherst and adds First Nations symbol to city flag, by Ingrid Peretz, Globe and Mail, Sept 13, 2017
Toronto food manufacturer fined $300,000 for death of worker one year ago, is under intense scrutiny following undercover reporting in Toronto Star, by Sarah Mojtehedzadeh and and Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
Undercover in the world of super-exploited temporary workers in Canada, feature report by Sarah Mojtehedzadeh and and Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
… In workplaces around the province, the use of temp agencies limits companies’ liability for accidents on the job, reduces their responsibility for employees’ rights, and cuts costs.
… When I walk into the factory, I see mostly people of colour. Many are new Canadians. Many told me they have taken this job for one reason: to survive.
… Overall in Ontario, temporary jobs — which include but are not limited to temp agency jobs — have grown at more than four times the rate of permanent jobs since the 2008 recession, according to Statistics Canada. In food manufacturing work, temp jobs have skyrocketed by 110 per cent in Toronto in the past 10 years. Permanent ones have increased by less than 3 per cent…
… Three temp agency workers have died at Fiera or its affiliated companies.
Canada’s state-run broadcaster turns its war advocacy attention to North Korea
[For several years already, Canada’s state-run broadcaster, the CBC, has taken its cue from its paymaster, the Canadian government, and been advocating war preparations against Russia. Now it is turning its attention to North Korea. In its broadcast of Sept 6, 2017, the CBC weekday newsmagazine program ‘The Current’ interviews two guests from right-wing think tanks in the United States advocating nuclear escalation on the Korean peninsula. Over at the weekly, Saturday interview program ‘The House’, the Sept 9 edition of the program features an interview with the former chief of staff of the Canadian armed forces, Tom Lawson. He wants Canada to spend millions, maybe billions, to join a decades-old, untried and unproven ‘U.S. missile defense shield’ for North America. What you, most decidedly, will not hear on CBC is any information about the history of U.S. (and Canadian) aggression on the Korean peninsula (Korean War of 1950-53, and ever since), how this caused Korea to be divided into two countries, and why this has led the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to take extraordinary measures to prevent a Libya-Iraq-Syria-you name it-style ‘regime change’ intervention against it.]
Yes to star wars, says Toronto Star editorial board, editorial in Toronto Star, Sept 6, 2017
‘Everything that’s been tried so far to stop North Korea’s nukes-and-missiles program hasn’t worked. Building a system [‘missile defense’] aimed at neutralizing this threat is at least worth trying.’
Back to Star Wars for Canada’s pro-military pundits
[Canada’s pro-military ideologues are using the conflict in Korea to renew calls for Canada to join a long-dreamed but scarcely-realized ‘North American missile defense’ system. Such a system has been a dream of U.S. military planners for decades, including President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ program that helped to kill detente with the Soviet Union in the day. Billions of dollars have been spent over the decades, but there is little to show for it, as The National Interest, a conservative publication, reports. The Union of Concerned Scientists has practical as well as moral objections. But what do they know? National Post columnist Andrew Coyne (Sept 4) and former Canadian general and now member of Canada’s appointed Senate Romeo Dallaire (Aug 24) want you to join them in looking forward to a glorious future of missiles and war. Why negotiate with North Korea to eliminate tensions when endless aggression and billions of dollars of spending on illusory ‘missile defense’ can be had? You can read about the long and expensive record of failed ‘North American missile defense’ here on Wikipedia.]
Toronto’s commuter rail network Metrolinx freely shares passenger travel records with police, report in Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
A new hole in Syria-Sarin certainty, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sept 8, 2017
[The page-one headline of the Toronto Star on Sept 8 is an article lifted from the New York Times: ‘The fake Americans that Russia created to influence the election’. So we bring you this report by Robert Parry examining the Times‘ shabby record on fake chemical weapons attacks in Syria.]
Bill Morneau, enraged doctors and the difficult art of tax reform targetting the wealthy, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Sept 8, 2017
Communications Security Establishment-Canada’s rigged ‘Russia election’ scare an excuse to invade our privacy, by Matthew Behrens, Rabble.ca, Sept 7, 2017
Alarming doubling of death rate in British Columbia’s drug overdose crisis, by Sunny Dhillon, Globe and Mail, Sept 8, 2017[The BC Coroners Service reports 876 suspected drug overdose deaths in BC through the first seven months of 2017, compared to 482 deaths in the same period of 2016. That’s an average of four deths per day. But the death cult known as the Canadian government refuses to decriminalize drugs and treat drug addiction as a public health emergency, as Portugal has done successfully since 2001. See also: Doctors in BC say Canada has a drug ‘poisoning’, not ‘overdose’, crisis, CBC News, Sept 2, 2017. ]
Canada’s new warships program balloons to $62 billion, report by David Pugliese in The National Post, Sept 7, 2017
“… The program calls for the construction of 15 ships. The original budget for the program was $26.2 billion, or $1.7 billion per ship for 15 ships. But parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Fréchette estimates the program will cost $61.82 billion, or $4.1 billion per ship…”
[Canada’s antiwar movement is expected to vigorously oppose the grotesque expenditure on warships as poverty grows and the need to mitigate global warming becomes glaringly evident… No, wait, there is no antiwar movement and there are no protests; turns out that anti-Russia hysteria has succeeded in changing the narrative.]
Liberals government threats won’t deter Boeing from pursuing its trade dispute with Bombardier, by Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, Sept 5, 2017
[In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, militarized corporate welfare case Boeing points to the extensive corporate welfare that has made Bombardier Inc. a Canadian capitalist success story. The Liberals enjoy a free hand in Canadian public opinion as they prepare to spend billions of dollars on new fighter jets; they are using that plan to pressure Boeing to back off.]
Toronto Star columnist mocks concern over Canada’s racist and genocidal history, column by Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star, Sept 6, 2017 [headline in print edition: ‘Making mountains of pedestals’]
[Comparing the common usage in Canada of an anglicized version of the name of Italian colonial explorer John Cabot]: ‘This could be condemned as a very early appropriation of an Italian accomplishment by Anglo Saxon culture…. If I were that sort of anachronous jackass, wailing and bemoaning over the injustices done to my peeps, from centuries ago to current ethnically insensitive textbooks. If I had endless whinges to pick. If I demanded an apology for Italians interned in Canada during World War II as enemy aliens…’
‘And, honestly, I don’t much care. Most people, I’m quite certain, don’t much care, not even about the symbolism inherent in monuments erected to extol Confederate leaders such a General Robert E. Lee… ‘Just stop shouting, Jesus H. Christ. Stop assuming the moral superiority on everything. Stop making mountains out of pedestals.’
[The Toronto Star columnist is too ignorant or too uncaring to know that the large majority of Confederate statues and symbols have nothing to do with commemorating the Civil War, per se. They were erected in the 20th century as part of the ‘Jim Crow’ counter-revolution seeking to block social gains by Black people freed from slavery at the Civil War’s end. For example, directors of the Washington Cathedral have decided to remove two stained glass panels featuring Confederate generals Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The panels were installed in 1953.]
Op-ed in Toronto Star calls for overthrow of North Korean government.
[An op-ed commentary in the Toronto Star on Sept 3 says Canada should join the U.S. in invading North Korea and overthrowing its government. The author is Charles Burton, an associate professor of political science at Brock University in St. Catharines and former counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. He also wants Canada to pony up for a very costly ‘North American missile defense’ program. Here is how the author pretties up Canada’s participation in the near-genocidal war of 1950-53 against the Korean people: “Sixty-seven years ago, Canada made a military commitment to defend South Korea against North Korean and Chinese military aggression…” The learned professor needs to go back to school to learn that ‘North’ and ‘South’ Korea did not exist in 1950-53. As in Vietnam in 1954, Korea was forcibly divided by the imperialist countries when they could not win their war of aggression and conquest. Kkorea’s division was codified in the 1953 armistice agreement ending war. Even then, the U.S. has not signed the armistice to this day. For a serious history of the current standoff in Korea, read: How ‘regime change’ wars led to Korea crisis, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sept 4, 2017.]
[The Trump administration in the U.S. is threatening to end the temporary visa status of tens of thousands of political and economic refugees from Haiti who were granted the status by the preceding Obama regime. Several thousand of those threatened by the change have recently migrated to Canada and claimed refugee status. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told the Haitian asylum seekers that they are not welcome, going so far as to send emissaries to Miami to deliver that message. An editorialist at the state-run CBC has written that Canada should change its refugee procedure in order to refuse Haitian claimants.]
Looking to move beyond the Indian Act, can Canada shed its ‘colonial structures?‘, by Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail, Sept 2, 2017
[Big business interests in Canada are concluding that their neo-colonial and quasi-genocidal policies of the past towards First Nations people must give way to business partnerships, especially in resource extraction.]
Welcoming Haitian refugees to Canada isn’t about generosity but justice, by Martin Lukacs, The Guardian, Aug 29, 2017
[This is the only substantive commentary published to date in Canada to expose the hypocrisy of the Canadian government for refusing to welcome the wave of Haitian asylum seekers fleeing threatened deportation from the United States. Canada was fully part of the failure of the 2010 earthquake aid regime. That failure is part of the continuum of imperialist domination of Haiti throughout the 20th century. Canada was an active participant in the 2004 coup in Haiti that overthrew the country’s elected president and its elected senate and legislature. The entire political and foreign aid establishment in Canada was and remains complicit in the coup and complicit in the post-2010 earthquake aid failure.]
Related: Six month delay for Trump plan to end/change DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], report on New York Times, Sept 3, 2017
[In the May 2017 election, the New Democratic Party promised it would bring in $15… by 2021! Now, even that is scrapped. The scrapping was done at the request of the Green Party, whose three members of the BC legislature are supporting the minority NDP government. NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains was first elected in 2005; before that he was a longtime official of the Steelworkers Union. The Liberal gov’t in Ontario and the NDP gov’t in Alberta say they will stick to plans for $15 by 2019. That is already paltry, but it beats the sad story in BC. This is what failure to build a genuine party of the left delivers. More reason for do-nothing: Canada’s trade unions and left-wing are standing around and watching with baited breath to see which of the tepid candidates in the federal NDP leadership contest will win.]
UN solitary-confinement rules aren’t binding in Canadian prisons, Canadian gov’t lawyer argues, The Globe and Mail, Aug 31, 2017
[Two seperate court cases are challenging the widespread use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. The indiscriminate use of the practice is defined by the UN as torture. One of the court cases, brought by the John Howard Society and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, is currently being heard in a BC court. A Canadian government lawyer in the case told the court on August 31 that although Canada is a signator to UN conventions on the treatment of prisoners, these don’t necessarily apply within its prisons. He was referring specifically to the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 (‘United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners‘, 33 pages). Canada accepted the Nelson Mandela Rules at the time of their approval, but now it is signalling, ‘Ha ha, we were just kidding.’ Rules 43, 44 and 45 of the Nelson Mandela Rules apply to solitary confinement. In 2015-16, 65 prisoners died in Canadian federal prisons. From 2001-2002 to 2010-2011, 530 prisoners died in federal custody, of which 92 were suicides.]